At a family party a few years ago, Paul Halliday watched on as his uncle, an EMT, calmly provided aid to a young cousin who’d fallen from a slide.
In the panicked situation, Halliday didn’t know what he would have done if his uncle hadn’t been there.
And that’s when he realized: “Everyone should know what to do in some kind of emergency.”
While there had been many incidents throughout high school that made Halliday consider becoming an EMT, after that day he was determined to make it happen.
He took the test on his 18th birthday—the first possible date, given the minimum age requirement.
Soon after, he arrived at Case Western Reserve University, ready to put his new certification into use. Almost immediately he joined CWRU Emergency Medical Service (EMS), a student-run, volunteer ambulance service on campus.
Now a rising junior nutritional biochemistry major, Halliday just wrapped up his first year at the helm of CWRU EMS. Last year, he ushered in changes to improve the organization’s services, including a formalized training process. Additionally, he’s making a push to transition to 24/7 coverage.
During the 2016–17 school year, CWRU EMS went on 255 calls on and around campus. On each call—responding in an average 4.5 minutes—two Ohio-certified EMTs provide patient care until they arrive at the hospital. The organization has grown rapidly since its start in 2004, now having more than 40 members serving the campus in times of crisis. And with each call Halliday goes on, he’s preparing himself for his future career, where he hopes to be the one tending to those patients once they arrive at the emergency room.
“Seeing this whole side before going into the hospital side in the future will really give me a good perspective,” he said.
Read more about Halliday’s perspective in this week’s five questions.
1. What do you like most about Cleveland?
Related to nutritional biochem, I love the food. It continues to shock me, the number of amazing restaurants we have here that no one knows about. You have to break away from the Case [Western Reserve] bubble in order to find them—head over to Tremont or the West Side, or even in Coventry. There’s just so many great little places making incredible food around here.
2. What’s your favorite social media platform?
I pretty much only use Facebook. It’s just the easiest to use and a lot of people are on Facebook, which makes it really easy to communicate.
3. What was the most influential class you’ve ever taken?
Probably my first bioethics class. It was taught by [Assistant Professor] Monica Gerrek. Each week, we covered a new bioethics topic, so we jumped into euthanasia, abortion, animal ethics, environmental ethics, terminal patients. I had never talked about any of them before because they’re so taboo. To take an academic approach to them was really cool—to see what doctors are saying, what ethicists are saying, what other people are saying, and how can we actually apply this to people suffering from these things in the hospital.
4. If you could meet any historical figure, who would you pick, and why?
John Lennon. I grew up listening to a lot of Beatles. I did a project on him in middle school and he was such an influential person in music. As we know, the Beatles changed the path of music, but the lyrics he wrote—I think of “Imagine” as probably his most well-known song—they’re just so beautiful and powerful.
5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
Definitely my peers. I’m continually shocked by the people I meet here because no one just has one focus. You meet a mechanical engineer who also happens to be an excellent saxophonist and loves to skateboard on the weekend, and you’re like “How do you combine all of these things into one person?” Every single person you meet is like that and everyone is doing some crazy research that will fly over my head the first time they say it or in some club that is going to change the world someday. I love everyone here.