PRO: TEMS provides vital service

Jack Newell, Staff Reporter

The following is an opinion article and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

The frequency of alcohol-related incidents requiring Tulane Emergency Medical Services has led many within both the administration and student communities to worry about the alcohol-oriented and binge drinking culture present at Tulane. 

Some members of the community believe that students are empowered to drink more irresponsibly because they know the medical service is a safety net they can fall back upon. These complaints, however, are completely misguided.

TEMS Director Peter Haskins said only 10 percent of TEMS calls are solely related to alcohol poisoning with no other medical complaints such as an injuries. This statistic shows that students do not use TEMS as a safety net, and rarely need medical service for incidents resulting from alcohol consumption.  

The binge drinking culture exists at many college campuses across the nation, not just at Tulane. Tulane should be praised for offering a service like TEMS, which provides immediate medical attention to its students in need. Even if the availability of TEMS did encourage drinking, the alternative of not having a service to help students would be far worse. Without TEMS, students with medical emergencies would need to find a different way to get help through much more costly services, such as the New Orleans Emergency Medical Service, or seek no help at all. There is no doubt that TEMS saves lives on this campus.

If there were a correlation between TEMS and binge drinking, it would be the administration’s lack of communication on what using TEMS to go to the hospital actually entails. Once students learn of the ramifications, as they do very early on, they are much less likely to consider using TEMS so flippantly. No one wants to waste the time or money just because of one drunk night.  

Incoming freshman are told that TEMS is free so there is no cost involved in using the service. The university leaves out, however, that treatment at the hospital is very expensive, a definite deterrent to excessive drinking. Another issue often not mentioned by the school is that students who use TEMS as a result of excessive alcohol consumption are required to attend BASICS, a seminar that teaches students about the risks of drinking.

Any student with even a little common sense will immediately point out that being comatose, incapacitated or otherwise sick while out ruins the party for everyone else, especially friends who must take care of you. Forcing others to tolerate your inability to handle yourself is not cool or acceptable in any way.

While drinking remains a serious and growing problem on Tulane’s campus, there are better ways to deal with the problem than flat-out denying students care that could save their lives. Binge drinking does not correlate to TEMS any more than any other ambulance service would. Tulane’s drinking culture must be addressed by the students if it is to change, not mitigate the issue by blaming it on something as necessary as an ambulance service. 

Jack Newell is a sophomore in the Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected]