Tag Archives: Bridgeport Hospital

August Laska Learns His (EMT) Lessons

August Laska has acted in every Staples Players show since freshman year. “Into the Woods,” “Rent,” studio productions — he’s done them all.

August Laska

This summer, the rising senior did something completely different. He spent every weekday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Bridgeport Hospital. August — and 7 other Staples students — are taking the long, tough, but very rewarding Emergency Medical Technician training course.

His mother, Jennifer Balin, earned her certification 5 years ago in Westport. Last fall, August vowed to do the same.

It’s made for quite a summer. Every night from late June on, he reads a thick textbook. The next day there are lectures, and plenty of tests. The course ends later this month, with a 6-hour practical exam, and a 200-question written one.

August calls the course “the most interesting and rewarding thing I’ve ever done.” It’s solidified his desire for a career in medicine. It’s taught him plenty — and opened his eyes quite wide.

Part of the training involved a 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift in the Bridgeport Hospital emergency room. He had class 2 hours later — but his adrenaline was pumping all night.

He saw horrific trauma — and people at their most vulnerable. He saw patients who use the ER because they have no primary care physicians. He realized the importance of emergency rooms in medicine, and can see himself working there one day.

Yesterday was something new, and special: He was invited into the operating room, to watch surgery.

As the class progresses, August says, he realizes “how little EMTs can really do” — beyond initial assessment and treatment — but also “how much they have to know.” Friends may not understand why he stays home at night studying, or how much he looks forward to waking up at 8 a.m. to go to school, but some things just can’t be explained.

He’s learning skills he can use anywhere, any time. He’s learning about expectations versus reality (“medicine is nowhere near as clean as it seems from the outside,” he notes). And he’s learning how to help and serve others.

Of all the roles August Laska has played on stage, this one off it may turn out to be his biggest.

Judge Not…

The other night, an alert “06880” reader writes, his son played in a Little League game.

A wild pitch brushed him back. Then he was hit hard on his left side, under the arm.

He went down in severe pain, and could hardly breathe. The reader’s wife — a medical professional, normally dismissive of her kid’s injuries — was very concerned, because the injury was so close to internal organs.

She took him to the Stillson Road walk-in clinic in Fairfield, because they take X-rays. The clinic immediately sent the boy — by EMS, with Fairfield Fire Department escort — to Bridgeport Hospital‘s pediatric emergency room. Fortunately, he checked out fine.

Both the walk-in clinic and hospital experiences, the reader says, were “phenomenal.”

But that’s not why he emailed me.

The pitcher was the opposing coach’s son. When the injured boy’s father got home, he had plenty of voicemails. His son’s coach, teammates — even parents on the other team, and random others — were calling to see how the boy was, and if the family needed anything.

But one person had not called: the opponents’ coach.

However, the father adds: “I was too quick to judge.”

Youth sports teach many life lessons.

The next day, he sent an email. He wrote of his own concern for the young player’s well-being, and said how sorry and distraught his own son felt for hitting the boy with a pitch.

“We, of course, had focused only on our own kid, and how we felt,” the “06880” reader writes.

“We never thought how the other child and coach/father might be feeling.”

That, he continues, is why “youth sports are so great. They’re about life lessons, and perspectives, and redemption, and making quick judgments.”

And about life lessons — for kids and parents.

Play ball!