EMT instructor reflects on experience as paramedic
EMT Professor Sandy De La Canal has had 20-plus years of paramedic experience that has resulted in many difficult calls. Some that she doesn’t like to speak of to this day.
De La Canal said, “One of the worst calls I ever had was being called to a 12-year old boy who committed suicide with a gun.”
Inspired by the media and her family’s needs, De La Canal decided to join the medical field.
“I had to help my parents with my younger siblings, and an old show called Emergency was my motivation to be in the medical field. Soon after I graduated as an EMT, I got hooked to the adrenaline of emergency medicine,” De La Canal said.
Her paramedic career led her to meet the love of her life.
“There was a head on collision on Montana and two ambulances responded to the accident. My unit went to one car and the other unit to the other. Unfortunately my patient was dead on scene, so I went to help the other paramedics, and that’s when I first saw him.”
But once she had her daughter, her perspective on every call changed; which led her to become an instructor.
“After I became a mom it became emotional to respond to many calls that wouldn’t affect me like this before,” De La Canal said.
Loren Lujan, a friend of De La Canals’, and the vet instructor here at Bel Air says she is amazed at what she does now.
Lujan said, “Sandy does so much as an instructor. She has EMT and Paramedic classes here and at EPCC, and she has to teach anatomy, physiology and how to be an EMT all in the same course.”
However all those years in the ambulance did teach her a lot.
De La Canal said, “I found a new respect for life because I realized how short life can actually be. I discovered that I was stronger in character than I would have ever thought.”
Even if she had another chance she would never change the experiences that she received as a paramedic.
“If I could go back in time, I would still become a paramedic; I would never trade the experiences I had for anything.”
Her advice to anyone who wants to become a paramedic De La Canal said, “You cannot be an introvert and be a paramedic. You must be able to gain control of the scene and an introvert cannot do that. You must be mentally and physically stable to face all the challenges out there in the streets.”
By Alberto Madriaga