Newark EMS answers calls, and questions
Following the hazing controversy at UMDNJ which caused the dismissal of three EMTs, the Ledger meets with some of their staff to discuss the incident and its impact on the community.
Mendez, who expresses anger at what transpired, is from Puerto Rico and said he was unaware of any hazing. He discounted any undercurrent of racism in the department. Still, he said, responding to life-and-death situations in the state’s largest city can be a hard job with the kind of stress many would never understand.
“A lot of people can’t take it,” he said, as he drove a white Dodge Durango carrying the orange-and-yellow livery of University Hospital’s EMS. “They work one day, two days, and they’re out.”
Mendez has seen it all.
“You get burn victims and kids struck by cars. When you see someone burned to a certain degree …” he said, his voice trailing off. “Yeah,” he finally says. “It’s stressful. Some people cope with it. Some people, they can’t get used to it.”