Marvel Comics and Allegheny Health Network team up to honor unsung EMS heroes

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New comic, ‘The Vitals: True EMS Stories’, features stories of EMS service providers serving the community during worst of COVID-19 pandemic

In 2020, winter in Pittsburgh was darker and colder than most. The COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak and hospitals were crowded with patients as more and more people were diagnosed with the virus every day. The roads remained calm as people took refuge in their homes, missing the fun of gathering for sporting events or celebrating Christmas with family and friends.

But nothing has stopped emergency medical service (EMS) providers – in ambulances and medical helicopters, in western Pennsylvania and across the country from providing primary care to those in need. , at home and in their community. In fact, EMS services were in greater demand than ever.

Now, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has partnered with legendary Marvel Comics to tell the true stories of medical first responders from AHN and community EMS services. Set in the winter of 2020, the stories of first responders come to life in a comic book titled “The Vitals: True EMS Stories”.

“EMS service providers are truly the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Robert Twaddle, vice president, Prehospital Care Services, AHN. “With demand for their services at unprecedented levels and facing exposure to a highly contagious and dangerous virus, they have never shied away from providing exceptional face-to-face care in patients’ homes, community settings and on accident scenes. I am honored to work with these courageous and selfless people every day.

According to the National Association of State EMS Officials, in 2020, 27.5 million EMS activations initiated by 911 resulted in direct contact with patients, up from 17 million in 2018. They put themselves at risk to serve their communities; Across the country, more than 128 medical first responders have died from COVID-19, according to an investigation by Kaiser Health News and the Guardian.

“Much like in the Marvel comics, we see each of these stories as a chance to uncover the heart and lead behind the heroes who work tirelessly to save lives,” said Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Entertainment. “After the amazing reaction we saw during our first comic book with AHN and Doner, we knew these stories were really special. We are honored to help AHN tell more of these stories, which now give us another glimpse into the world of health heroes who save millions of lives every day.

The comics will be distributed to EMS staff and an e-reader will be available for digital distribution on and

“The Vitals: True EMS Stories” follows Marvel Comics’ “The Vitals: True Nurse Stories,” a comic book depicting the heroic stories of AHN nurses during the pandemic, which debuted nationally and internationally. in December. 2020. As with the nurses featured in the first ‘The Vitals’, EMS service providers were nominated by their colleagues to be included in this follow-up comic.

“We are happy, but not surprised, that so many EMS colleagues took the time to write complimentary and detailed nominations from their colleagues,” Thomas Campbell, MD, president, emergency medicine, told AHN. “Our local EMS partners never forget that delivering effective emergency medical care always requires teamwork. They appreciate and support their teammates and take pride in their accomplishments. All of us who work in emergency medicine are proud to be part of their team.

The accomplishments of the eight EMS staff featured in “The Vitals: True EMS Stories” include speaking calmly to a psychiatric patient from a ledge where he threatened to jump, delivering a premature breech baby, and administering mouth resuscitation. to the small infant, continuing to provide direct patient care despite risk factors for COVID complications such as asthma and cancer survival, spending free time collecting winter coats and bags back for needy youth and to perform a cricothyrotomy in the field on a burn patient.

“The Vitals: True EMS Stories” can be viewed anytime by visiting The comic is written by Marvel Comics writer Sean Ryan, drawn by artists JL Giles, Zé Carlos and Ramon Bachs. The cover was created by the artists Zé Carlos & Rachelle Rosenberg.

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