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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

M.E.T. volunteers

OF LATE TWO MARYKNOLLERS a week are rushed by ambulance to local hospitals, usually Phelps in Tarrytown. When such a medical emergency arises, this traumatic experience is assuaged a bit by being accompanied by a fellow Maryknoller, who remains with the person while in the E.R. and also brings whatever personal items may be required.

OK, so the official name is actually E.A.T. (for Emergency Assistance Team), I for one think this is an unfortunate acronym as the group has nothing whatsoever to do with food. Therefore I am pushing M.E.T. (for Medical Emergency Team) as the new name for this service because
1) it sounds like what is done
2) it doesn't raise any expectations of getting a meal

The concept is simple and straight forward: when the front desk or nursing station calls for an ambulance to aid a Maryknoller in medical distress, a call is also made to a special cell phone carried by the M.E.T. volunteer on duty that day or night. He then usually gets in his own car and follows the ambulance and goes to the E.R. to comfort the missioner and also to see what items may be wanted should hospitalization be necessary: toiletries, books, rosary, breviary, iPhone, stock portfolio etc. He would also bring the man's wallet and clothing back to Maryknoll for safekeeping.

Luckily, many Maryknollers have volunteered for M.E.T. Jack Keegan, Joe La Mar, Dick Smith, Kevin Hanlon, John Blazo, Bob Jalbert, Tim Graff, Wayne Fitzpatrick, Joe McGahren, Tom Hickey and Ernie Luksachek are on-call throughout October.

I can personally attest to the emotional and physical support this affords a Maryknoller at a time of high discomfort and anxiety. Last February I had just completed my uneventful shift as a M.E.T. volunteer and had turned over the emergency phone to Br. Tom Hickey. Little did we know that four hours later he would be accompanying me to the hospital. I cannot express my gratitude enough to Tom as he came and went back and forth between the Phelps E.R. and Maryknoll several times and spent several hours at my bedside well into the night.

It's encouraging to know that if needed we Maryknollers will be well M.E.T.

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