Inside the ER: hospitals, paramedics bracing for busy 4th of July holiday weekend


WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Extra staff is on hand this weekend at Trinity Health of New England’s EMS headquarters in Waterbury. Some of the crews there say the 4th of July weekend is one of the toughest holiday weekends to work because of the volume of emergency calls and what they encounter when they respond.

“Sometimes the fireworks will go off — the people didn’t get far enough away — and fingers, hands, people lose — sometimes they lose their digits,” said Trinity Health EMS paramedic, Bob Murray.

The patients Murray may encounter will be rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital. News 8 was allowed exclusive access inside to interview one of the doctors who helps to run the department.

“We certainly see an increase in minor burns due to children stepping on sparklers and grabbing spent sparklers and burning their hands,” said Dr. Kent Burgwardt, Associate Director of the Emergency Dept. at St. Mary’s Hospital.

As for some of the older patients they get…

“We have an increase in alcohol-related and drug-related cases and we certainly have an increase in burns, explosive injuries,” he said.

They also tell News 8, this year, they’re concerned about the new law legalizing marijuana here in Connecticut and how that might affect the number of burn patients they see and patients involved in car crashes — something they also say keeps them busy this holiday weekend.

“There’s a lot of alcohol-related emergencies,” said Beth Szantyr, Field Supervisor for Trinity Health EMS.

“We will probably see not only marijuana but other illicit drugs,” said Dr. Burgwardt.

These medical personnel hope they’re wrong and they’re not busy this holiday weekend.

“Everybody’s going to have a good time if they use a little common sense,” said the doctor.

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