When the Class of 2014 graduated from MIT on June 6, MIT Medical staffers and student emergency medical technicians (EMTs) were, as always, on hand and poised to deal with any medical emergencies that might arise among the crowd of roughly 13,000 people who packed Killian Court to enjoy the festivities. After last year's unseasonable cold and the oppressive heat and humidity of previous years, clinicians and EMTs were ready to deal with almost anything Mother Nature might throw at them. But for once, as EMS Technical Director Mark Forgues puts it, “MIT won the weather lottery.”
With sunny skies, a slight breeze, and temperatures in the mid-70s, the only weather-related medical-tent visits involved a couple of sunscreen requests and a few people looking for some shade. “It seemed most folks stayed hydrated, says Triage Nurse Lynn Forgues, who has been part of the medical team at Commencement for 13 years. “A fewer older folks came by seeking a little time out of the sun. They just sat in the shade for a bit but did not require any medical attention.”
Helping out in the medical tent on the Memorial Drive end of Killian Court along with Mark and Lynn Forgues were, from MIT Medical, doctors Patrick Egan and David Diamond, nurse practitioner Mary Ellen Cyr, and nurse Eleanor Woodard. Assisting in the tent, staffing the ambulance, and making themselves available in various areas of Killian Court were student and alumni EMTs Ben Artin, Annie Dunham, Ahmed Eltahir, Alex Hong, Fatima Hussain, Kianna Jackson, Aditya Kalluri, Kyle Kotowick, Roo-Ra Lee, Morgan O'Neill, Jennifer Plotkin, Ben Steinhorn, Andrew Tang, Anita Wamakima, Lawrence Wong, and Kyle Yuan.
In addition to what Lynn Forgues describes as the “usual Band-Aid brigade of ladies in their new shoes” needing blister treatment, the medical tent hosted a young woman recovering from a previous concussion who wanted to lay down for a bit and a man who fainted and was given IV fluids. He was able to return to Killian Court in time to watch his son receive his diploma, “but, unfortunately,” Forgues says, “he later vomited, and we strongly advised that he go to the hospital for evaluation.” The MIT ambulance and student EMT crew subsequently transported him to Mount Auburn Hospital.
After the past few years, medical-tent staffers appreciated this rare “low key” Commencement day, says Lynn Forgues. They were even able to enjoy an almost uninterrupted 20 minutes to join family members in celebrating graduating EMTs Julia Ellermeier, Aileen Johnson, David Levonian, Sarah Lund, Adam Sachs, Juliann Shih, Jacqueline Simpson, and Dylan Soukup with non-alcoholic “champagne” and cake.
“What a great and wonderful day,” exclaims Mark Forgues. “Everything went exactly as planned and better than hoped!”