EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES (EMS) professionals provide emergency pre-hospital care to adults and children in need of acute medical treatment. EMS providers, also known as ambulance service providers, transport patients to emergency departments and provide care during interfacility patient transports. EMS professionals are nationally registered after passing the NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians) standardized test, and are classified within various certification levels, including EMT-B (basic), EMT-I (intermediate), and EMT-P (paramedic). Basic Emergency Medical Technicians typically drive ambulances and act as first responders during a 911 call. They provide Basic Life Support (BLS), which may include CPR. When emergency calls require more advanced personnel, Paramedics arrive to provide Advanced Life Support (ALS), which includes airway management (e.g. endotracheal intubation), defibrillation, lifesaving intravenous drugs, and various other critical treatments. EMS professionals, including Paramedics and EMTs, are employed in settings such as ambulance companies, ground or air transportation, hospital emergency departments, and fire departments.
Litigation involving EMS professionals is far less frequent than physician-based claims because many states afford statutory exemption for ordinary negligence committed by EMTs and Paramedics. Such prohibitions are intended to reduce threats to the EMS profession and thus protect the public health by facilitating abundant EMS access. In such jurisdictions, claims against EMTs and Paramedics are typically barred absent evidence of gross negligence.