(Newaygo County, Michigan, May 23, 2016) –Life EMS Ambulance Paramedics Dan Degen and Rob Benson figure they have saved the lives of dozens of local men and women during their lengthy careers as first responders.

MI Paramedics of the YearWhile the duo believes ALL life-saving events are memorable, they won’t soon forget the July 1, 2015 shift they worked together. That’s when Degen and Benson were attending to a patient onboard their ambulance. The patient, who had earlier experienced cardiac arrest, was being transported emergently from Geber Memorial Hospital in Fremont to the Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids. During the 46-mile emergency transport, a vehicle heading in the opposite direction veered off M-37 near Sparta and directly head-on into the ambulance. The impact of the crash killed the other driver instantly. The EMT driving the ambulance suffered multiple leg fractures, with Degen and Benson also incurring serious injuries.

Despite having suffered significant injuries, the experienced medics continued to provide highly skilled, life-saving care to the patient, who was able to maintain stable vital signs and experienced no changes in her cardiac condition.

Degen and Bensons’ efforts have earned them the 2016 Michigan EMS Practitioner of the Year award. While the prestigious honor is bestowed upon one medic, the Michigan EMS Practitioners Association (MiEMSPA) extended the award to include both Degen and Benson.

“This award truly epitomizes the extent of their life-saving work, as well as honors the exceptional on-board safety practices in place which tremendously reduced their likelihood of more serious harm,” said MiEMSPA’s Executive Director, Angela Madden.

“Their ability to provide highly skilled care after being seriously injured themselves kept this patient alive and ultimately led to her successful discharge, following cardiac catheterization,” said Jeff Stockhill, northern Michigan operations supervisor for Life EMS Ambulance.

Added Mark Meijer, founder and president of Life EMS Ambulance: “This was an extraordinary circumstance, with an extraordinary response and outcome to a truly tragic event. We are proud of their skills, professionalism and patient focus at all times.”


About Life EMS Ambulance:

Founded in 1980, Life EMS Ambulance has consistently reduced response time while providing compassionate emergency care. Life EMS Ambulance was the first ambulance service in West Michigan, and among the first in the country to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, the gold standard in the EMS industry. Life EMS Ambulance responds to medical emergencies throughout 3,600 square miles of West Michigan, including Grand Rapids/Kent, Portage/Kalamazoo, Ottawa, Ionia, Newaygo, Lake, Mason, Allegan and Van Buren counties. The company has also earned consecutive distinctions as “West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.” Additional information can be found at www.lifeems.com.