Goodbye EMS

My EMS career has been just over 12 years.

It has been a fantastic time and has changed me in ways that I would never have thought possible.

And it all ends in a little over 9 hours time.

Justin has kindly offered to let me have some space on his blog so that I can say my farewell to EMS and share why I feel so privileged to have spent time in this most amazing of careers.

It seems a fitting place to say my goodbyes. Justin and Ted Setla have been a constant part of my life for the past few years and the opportunity that presents itself to me, that allows me to take my future in a different direction can be traced back to Justins and my ‘Project’ which later became the Chronicles of EMS after Ted found us and brought his vision to the screen.

One person who was watching along was Mathias Duschl, a paramedic from Switzerland who also shared our vision of trying to make EMS better for all of those that we care for. Just over a year ago, Matt and I met in Newcastle, where he showed me this rather cool medical device called the RhinoChill. I was hooked, and our relationship developed until he invited me to become part of the Benechill family. That has led to now, and my new career in research across Europe.

Im not quite done for with EMS yet though, I have this last shift left.

One shift left to enjoy the feeling of being an operational paramedic…
One shift left to maybe make a difference….
One shift left to try not to show my frustration with some of the people who will be calling 999…..
One shift left to avoid the one job on my ‘tick list’ that I still haven’t had to deal with and one that I don’t ever want to see.

But most importantly, one shift left to work with my wife!

We haven’t worked together for about 6 years. It didn’t seem to work once we were well into our relationship and on the way to getting married. I am her boss at work….She is my boss 24hrs a day! I think you can see the conflict.

Tonight will be different, because this is the last chance we will get to work together for a very long time, maybe forever. Tonight is going to be great.

I think that my leaving the ambulance service is harder for her than me at the moment. EMS has been ‘our thing’. We met over a decapitated head (only a medic would find that amusing!), and most of our conversations revolve around the job and the patients that we meet.

She needn’t worry though, she is now my insight into paramedicine on the front line. I will live through her and the stories that she tells me when she gets home.
Whatever control, or the world wants to throw at us, we will enjoy working together and seeing out my last shift at North East Ambulance Service.

But, what about me?

Sandra (my wife) keeps asking me if I am upset to be leaving and I keep saying, no not really. I am excited about the prospects ahead and the work that I can do and contribute to, that may well go on to save thousands of lives around the world. But then I am here, sitting alone in my response car and I realize that I am upset to be leaving. This is who I am.

That’s a simple sentence to write. Five words.

This is who I am.

I am a paramedic.

I am incredibly proud of that title. It is who I am.

The situations that I have experienced, the patients I have cared for, the good times and the bad.

The memories that I have, both happy and sad.
The pieces of my soul that have taken on indelible imprints of people I will never ever forget and who still touch my heart to this day…..

I see them all now, I hear the cries and screams; the blood and the devastation.

The lifeless baby and the hanging body. The man whose hand I held while he looked me in the eye to tell me that he was going to die, and he didn’t want to, he wasn’t ready yet. The grief and the despair.

Its all there….and it wont go.


There is also the joy, satisfaction and happy times.

Laughing so hard with Dominic, that I had to sneak out of patient’s houses so that they wouldn’t see my hysterical laughter.

The caressed hand that brought so much comfort.

The sound of a baby’s first cry and the thank you from the grateful parents.

The visits to the intensive care units to see those that we have saved on their way back to their families.

The times when you come home so tired that its difficult to keep your eyes open, but you know you have made a difference.

The first time I worked with Sandra, when I knew…..she was the one.

There is so much that I could write, but I guess that’s what the 450,000 words were about from my blog.

EMS is not just a job. It cant possibly be. It changes who you are and how you view the world. It can make you hard, but it can also reduce you to tears when you least expect it.

I have been in the ambulance service 12 years. That may not be long to some of you, but it has seemed like a lifetime to me. I can’t imagine that I was ever happy doing anything else.

In my very first year,  a paramedic came up to me and said

“ if they were to cut you in half, you would have green and white checks through the middle of you “ (they were our service colours at the time)

I feel the same now.

I may be leaving the ambulance service tomorrow, but it will never, ever leave me.


-Mark Glencorse, Paramedic

Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Why not leave a comment or subscribe to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader?

38 thoughts on “Goodbye EMS”

  1. It was a pleasure to read your words and get to know you through the blog and the work you’ve done with Justin and Ted. I wish you and your family all the best and I know you’ll make a difference in the world of EMS innovation! Cheers mate!

  2. You will be missed greatly by many. Take this one thought with you….it is you and those like you that brought “The Brotherhood” to EMS, and for that we are grateful.

    1. Naaaa. The brotherhood has always and will always be there. Justin, I and many others like us just had social media to share our experiences with everyone else.
      Thats the cool thing, we aren’t anything special, we are just like you and everyone else.

  3. Mark we know each other well and worked together in the past.  Unfortunately for me, the one job you didnt want I got and im pleased you missed out!  We are now both going different directions and I wish both you and your family all the best for the future!!  Stay in touch my friend and take care.  Dave Wrightson.

  4. One shift left to maybe make a difference….

    Nah.  You still will make a difference, it just may not be as immediate as you, me, we are all use to.  As a Paramedic myself that left to go into Nursing, I understand the semi-sweet bitterness.  I also understand that caring and commitment to patients, the public run long and deep.   That is what allows us all to continue to step up and be better at what we do.  You may no longer be “operating” as a Paramedic, but you are still one.  And you will still make a difference.

  5. You have taught me so much in these past few years with your sharing. May your future hold positive experiences and lots of growth and learning. Good luck to you and your family Mark.

  6. That was so well said. It’s been 9 months since I left the service. For the longest time It was difficult for me to see an ambulance or firetruck. I now imagine in my head what kind medical emergency is going on when I see one. Are they doing CPR? Is it an elderly person with difficulty breathing or is it one of those runs where they didn’t have gas or a car and needed a ride to the hospital.  You are so right when you said that it never leaves you. It doesn’t. Best to you on you new endeavor.

  7. Mark,

    While we have never met, your writing and actions within the Professional Community say a lot about the person you are. Your compassion, desire and professionalism are qualities that I can only hope to match in the future. My Medical Director once said we are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with and you my friend have made me a better Paramedic. Thank you for your dedication, your time, and I wish you the best as you move forward. May your endeavors  bring you just as much satisfaction as your work as a Paramedic (and if time permits, I could use that Rhino Chill down here in SoCal, I am sure Justin and Ted won’t mind a visit back to the States, lol.)

    Take care, 

  8. Mark, although we have never met, you are one of the many that have inspired me to keep going.  I no longer train Soldier medics, but now I’ll be able to finish (hopefully) myself becoming a paramedic. For that, I thank you and a handful of others.


  9. Mark, thank you for all ypou have done and shared with us.  Not just the medics, either: I have learned a helluva lot from you, and I’m “just” an EMT-B. Be well, friend.

    And thanks for your help last year on British vs American Red Cross CPR.

  10. Best of luck, Mark. I’m sure that whatever you go on to do will still be helping people and making a difference. I’m glad you “missed out” on that one thing on your list. And I’m sorry I got connected with the EMS blogosphere just a tad too late to have the chance to meet you.

  11. It was a pleasure meeting you last summer, congratulations on finishing this chapter of your life and I wish you all the best in your new career.


  12. Mark tank for making me and many more remember why we do that job and also that the job did chose us and not the opposite ! I was proud to have become a paramedic but I’m even more proud to be one when I get to talk to passionate medic like you and those that did join the Chronicles of EMS,EMS2.0 and all those that become more involve in making this feild grow and be known ! And yes you have made a difference ! You will continue to make one !!! Best of luck to you and if you do come over here a coffee or beer must be taken together

  13. Unfortunately, I have been to one of those jobs on your tick list.  Child death by trauma is very hard to take, as is any child death.  I just had a drowning within the last week of a toddler, which was really sad.  Enjoy your time away from the service.  You’ve done your duty.

  14. From a loyal reader who was introduced to the ‘blogosphere’ by your writings, it was always a pleasure to read how different (and quite same) the job is for all of us. You (and Justin) have started something that hopefully will just build and educate the rest of on how we could be doing Paramedicine better as a whole for the patient.

    Good luck and Godspeed for the future!

  15. Thank you all for all your very kind comments and words. They really do mean the world to me.

    Ill still be around and will be travelling a whole lot, so if you see me pop up on Twitter somewhere near you, don’t be shy and lets have a drink.


  16. Gonna miss your insight, your humor, and your encouragement, Mark. Take care of yourself, my friend. And don’t be a stranger – please. :)

  17. Thank you so much for your service. I found your blog initially about a year ago through motorcop and I’m happy to say that between you two and the rest of the first responders blogging, my eyes have been opened and I have learned so much ! I am really grateful for your blog and hope you continue to blog about your (mis)adventures far into the future.

    I know I am a better citizen for it !

  18. Mark, thank you for everything. Your words, the work you have done to further EMS, this profession, this life won’t be the same because of you. Again you have captured it all with your words. I have been most inspired by you, Justin and Kelly (ambulance driver.) But you will always have a special place within me, something about the way you write, it speaks to me. Maybe it was the connection from the post(s) you wrote about suicide that so closely mirrored my own experience, or maybe it goes even deeper than that. Whatever it is, thank you for coming in to our lives and I mean this with my everything, best of luck to you in your future, I know you will be great! 

    – Dan

  19. Mark – I just want to thank you for the work you’ve done so far.  You and Justin have inspired many of us with your words and this ‘blogging thing’ to the betterment of EMS worldwide.  Not many people make such an effort to work toward what they believe in.  Thank you.

  20. Mark, I enjoyed your blog and your perspective. Thank you for your final post on Medic 999 and I’m sorry to say I’ve run your tick list call and it wrecked the engine crew who ran it w/us. Your words will be missed. Good luck in your endeavors and enjoy your life as you move forward w/this new phase. I had asked Whitehead to rope you into one final blog comment on theemtspot, I’d love your thoughts on the latest post. Take care and as always if your travels take to you to Denver, drop a line for beer  when you’re here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>