Heart Month Patient Story: Anthony

Saving lives for a living is in Anthony Days’s blood.

His grandfather was a medic in World War I, and, from a young age, Days has always felt a pull toward public safety. He realized his dream of becoming a first responder in 1986 as a firefighter and EMT, and would soon “jump onboard” the Mattapoisett Police Department — which itself is an anomaly in that it also runs the town’s EMS.

“I fell in love with it. One of the greatest feelings from the very beginning has been being able to take care of people you’ve known your whole life, and that kept me rooted in Mattapoisett, where I was born and raised,” says Days, who has been instrumental in equipping area agencies with defibrillators.

“I’ve really enjoyed being able to infuse EMS into law enforcement. The public sometimes has a certain stereotype of a law enforcement officer; they’re not always prepared to see a police officer start an IV, you know what I mean? In our department, it’s normal for the first one on the scene to be a police officer and crawl into a wreck and start rendering aid beyond basic life support. That has always been a fulfilling aspect of the job, especially when it comes to our most vulnerable populations. I’ve been fortunate to serve as a captain in this town, which has supported us so well.”

Days retired on May 4. But he and his loyal Labradoodle, Teddy, can still be spotted all over the Tri-Town and beyond, teaching CPR, wilderness survival, and … art?

“I had this great opportunity to go into our Center School and teach the children art because I paint,” Days says. “So, I would go in as a ‘visiting artist’ for Ms. Perry, the art teacher, sometimes with a smock over my uniform, and give the kids the lesson and then take my smock off, and their jaws would drop when they saw a policeman. It was fun.”

(See his impressive and powerful paintings, many of which draw on his career and community, at A. Days WORK. He’s currently opening a gallery at Hatch Street Studios.)

“I’ve just decided I’m going to start painting more and doing things like that. I’m still teaching CPR because it’s my passion. I still feel like that makes such a difference out in the real world now, especially with overdoses, because you can actually save a life just by breathing for them,” Days says. “Narcotic overdoses knock the respiratory drive down, but if they’re young enough and have a healthy heart, you can keep them alive until help arrives.”

Days credits Southcoast Health with sponsoring his education as a paramedic and for the interceptor rescue truck that “intrigued” him as a young EMT:

“I’ve always been grateful for the opportunities I’ve had through Southcoast because I would have never gotten here without them,” he says.

“They’ve provided communities like mine with all of the help we’ve needed for Advanced Life Support services. For me, and for us, it’s all about educating the public and the next generation of first responders.”