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EMS Medical Director Enhances EMS Care Across Brown County

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Four medical providers sit around a table.
Dr. Bob Zemple, left, meets with three members of the Eagle III helicopter medical transport team.

The lifesaving work of the emergency room extends beyond the walls of Aurora BayCare Medical Center thanks to Dr. Bob Zemple, the hospital’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) medical director. He has dedicated countless hours to developing and maintaining the comprehensive treatment guidelines that many local EMS organizations rely on to train their teams. His efforts ensure that EMS providers are well-trained, supported, and ready to deliver exceptional care in every emergency. Board certified in both emergency medicine and EMS, Dr. Zemple also helps with trainings and keeps his phone on 24/7 so EMS responders can call him with emergent questions. 

EMS Treatment Guidelines and Training 

Having tried-and-true treatment guidelines for local EMS providers – from paramedics and police officers to firefighters and helicopter flight nurses – is critical when it comes to caring for patients in the field. 

“If you can improve the guidelines and the training for the field providers, you're already taking a big step towards the improvement in steps of care for the patient before they arrive at the hospital, rather than just picking them up and getting them there,” he said. 

Aurora BayCare Medical Center is the only EMS refresher training center in Northeast Wisconsin, so EMS providers can count their training hours facilitated by Dr. Zemple towards what they need to renew their licenses (every three years). The hospital is also an appropriate medical control facility, which means Dr. Zemple can be a resource for EMS providers in other regions as well. 

“If an EMS agency can't get ahold of their medical director – because a lot of med directors don't take call – the default of these EMS agencies is to call the ER they’re heading to. But a lot of ER providers don’t do EMS, so they don’t have the same training or the same knowledge,” Dr. Zemple explained. “That’s why I have all my guys call me first, because I wrote the guidelines, I wrote the treatment, I know what we’re trying to do.” 

Not only did Dr. Zemple develop the treatment guidelines, but he is also dedicated to improving them with the help of the EMS providers who use them. It’s all about making sure patients are getting the best possible care, no matter the situation. Emergency responders pose with a ladder truck.

“That improves the care that we're able to deliver in the ER and the care the EMS responders deliver out in the field, because we work with each other,” Dr. Zemple said. “When you've outlined how we want things done and you're pushing the envelope on what these guys can do at the scene of an emergency, I think it makes a big difference early on.” 

Dr. Zemple’s EMS medical director duties go above and beyond his full-time schedule in the emergency department. On average, he estimates he’ll get up to five calls or texts related to EMS each day. 

“For example, someone might send me an EKG and ask for help to diagnose if the patient is having a heart attack,” Dr. Zemple said. 

For him, it’s all about ensuring the EMS providers have all the tools possible to respond efficiently in any emergency.

Community Impact Inside and Outside of the Emergency Room 

Aurora BayCare Medical Center has a physician response vehicle that Dr. Zemple and the other emergency physicians can use to respond to a scene in case the situation requires advanced skills or knowledge to manage. 

“A few years ago, Dr. Stroman placed a special tourniquet to patient’s leg in a tractor rollover before transporting him to the hospital,” Dr. Zemple recalled. “This saved his leg in the short term.” 

Dr. Steven Stroman, a retired BayCare Clinic emergency physician, is also board certified in EMS and the main reason Dr. Zemple decided to study emergency medicine and get involved in EMS. Dr. Stroman was the EMS medical director at Aurora BayCare Medical Center for many years and inspired a young Dr. Zemple to follow in his footsteps. Now, with Dr. Zemple in the director’s chair, Dr. Stroman still helps with trainings and other EMS events. 

“We trained the Medical College of Wisconsin students at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College,” Dr. Zemple said. “We have an EMS Day where we bring them out, go through cases, show them what it's like to be a firefighter and EMS.” 

He and Dr. Stroman also attend community outreach events to help foster education about the significance of EMS services. 

“It's fun and exciting to see people get an interest in this this area,” he said. “I think it's important in getting the patients squared away, you know, the best you can before they arrive at the hospital.” 

Dr. Zemple works with the following local agencies on a regular basis: 

Ashwaubenon Public Safety 

Austin Straubel International Airport Public Safety 

Brown County Public Health 

Brown County SWAT 

De Pere Fire Rescue 

Eagle III 

FVTC Paramedic Program

Howard Fire Rescue 

Lawrence Fire

Ledgeview Fire

Suamico Fire

Superior Ambulance Service


Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2024