The true exploits of ‘Boston EMS’ are back on ABC
By now, it’s a tradition for a medical documentary series to be part of ABC’s summer programming.
That’s thanks largely to one executive producer: Terence Wrong, who has given the network “NY Med,” “Boston Med,” “Hopkins” and “Save My Life: Boston Trauma” in past years. He’s now back in the Saturday ABC lineup with the second season of “Boston EMS,” profiling a number of that city’s first responders – many of whom, expectedly, share stories of working the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings as they tend to current emergencies.
“We’re gratified that ABC has been so supportive of us, and particularly the news division,” Wrong says of his long run with such series. “There have been a bunch of different leaders at that division and the network since these series were initiated, but everybody has found this to be a unique and valuable contribution that you can’t really see anywhere else.
“These are amazingly hard shows to make, and they’re exhausting for us,” notes Wrong. “When we deprogram, we’re like, ‘Do we really want to do another?’ And then, we start to miss it … the adrenalin and the intimacy that we get with these series that we don’t seem to be able to replace with anything else. It’s very personal to all of us, and we’ve all used the contacts and information we’ve gotten from it in our own lives and with our own families.”
Wrong’s relationship with Boston through several shows stems from his connection to its late mayor Thomas Menino, with whom he made a project at the start of the 2000s. “That gave us the street cred,” Wrong reasons. “We did a good job and we had his support, so we were able to go back and do subsequent series there. And (Boston) is kind of the medical capital of the United States; with the conglomeration of top-level medical centers there, nowhere else equals it.”
The decision to showcase the city’s Emergency Services team in “Boston EMS” was easy for Wrong, who reflects, “The Boston Marathon bombing was almost a textbook illustration of how an EMS should deal with a mass-casualty situation. My favorite story about it is how Mayor Menino called in the chief of the Boston EMS that evening. They’d had three dead at the scene and dozens in hospitals with missing limbs and massive bleeds, and the mayor asked, ‘How many are going to be dead by morning?’ The chief said, ‘Quite a few more’ – but in fact, nobody else died.”
“That’s because they had evacuated the wounded very meticulously to half a dozen trauma centers,” Wrong explains, “keeping in mind who had spare trauma surgeons and extra plasma supplies. They made choices in the moment, and I find it hard to come up with another city that could have handled a situation like that as efficiently. They’re really extraordinary, and that makes them compelling to us. They’ve all been touched by that event the way the fire and police departments in New York were touched by 9/11.”
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