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New state EMS protocols gives paramedics sexual assault training, emergency contraception

Ian Taylor

The new rules require community paramedics to be trained to help survivors and gives them the option to carry emergency contraception

They fill what a state medical leader calls a gap in attending to sexual assault.

Emily Bergquist is the state director of EMS and trauma. The new training gives community paramedics behavioral health guidelines to help a survivor through trauma and to make informed decisions.

“The day the press release came out I happened to be at a flight visit and one of the community paramedics came up to me and said, ‘You know, I can’t believe we’re doing this. It’s such a great idea. It’s something that’s been a long time coming,'" she said.

Bergquist said emergency contraception that paramedics carry would not include abortion pills but instead hormone blockers to prevent pregnancy.

Emergency workers could also provide treatments for sexually transmitted infections like antibiotics and prophylaxis treatment.

Bergquist said the protocols created a buzz in other states’ health departments.

"Two other state offices reached out to us since the press release asking about it because from our research, I couldn’t find anyone else doing exactly this," she said.

The new protocols should start rolling out early 2023, Bergquist said.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.