Southcoast Health’s Dr. Matthew Bivens recognized as EMS Physician of the Year by GFREMSCC

FALL RIVER, Mass. — Southcoast Health announced today that the Greater Fall River Emergency Medical Services Coordinating Committee (GFREMSCC) has named Dr. Matthew Bivens, EMS Medical Director for St. Luke’s Hospital, as 2017 EMS Physician of the Year.

Dr. Matthew Bivens
Dr. Matthew Bivens

“I am very honored to accept this award, and it is a real privilege for me to be associated with the EMS services in our region, which I consider to be truly elite EMS services,” Dr. Bivens said at the GFREMSCC annual conference on October 27. He added that the award reflected the commitment of the entire St. Luke’s emergency department team, under Dr. Jennifer Pope, to supporting and partnering with local EMS.

Dr. Bivens was nominated jointly by Acushnet Fire/EMS Chief Kevin Gallagher and New Bedford EMS Director Mark McGraw.

Chief Gallagher lauded Dr. Bivens for his successful efforts to inspire significant policy changes with the office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS).

“In a relatively short time span, Dr. Bivens has left his mark not only on the hospital where he is employed, but on the EMS departments under his leadership, the hundreds of pre-hospital providers under his direction and the countless lives he has saved both knowingly and unknowingly,” said Chief Gallagher of Dr. Bivens in his nomination.

In particular, the award recognized the work organized by Dr. Bivens and involving multiple local private and municipal EMS companies – including Acushnet EMS, Alert EMS, EasCare EMS, Fairhaven EMS and New Bedford EMS – to provide prehospital tranexamic acid (TXA), an inexpensive and life-saving medication for trauma patients. Randomized trials, and also U.S. military battlefield experience, have shown that TXA, when provided as early as possible to a trauma patient, can be life-saving.

Use of the medication by 911 ambulances was pioneered by EMS companies affiliated with St. Luke’s Hospital, in a year-long program administered by Dr. Bivens and Brian Giorgianni, the St. Luke’s Hospital EMS Coordinator, and in cooperation with Rhode Island Hospital trauma services. This year, the pilot program led to changes in statewide EMS protocols for both Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Dr. Bivens was also one of many EMS leaders and medical directors who, concerned about the opioid epidemic, have championed non-opioid pain management options for the state’s ambulances. Working with Acushnet EMS, Dr. Bivens coordinated a special project application to include Ofirmev, an IV preparation of acetaminophen (better known in pill form by its brand name Tylenol) on ambulances. There was such strong interest in this and other non-opioid pain management options that the Department of Public Health skipped the standard approach of a special project, and in October adopted “IV Tylenol” and other non-opioid pain relievers as emergency protocol update options for EMS.

“At every turn, Dr. Bivens has made an impact. We are better pre-hospital providers due to his leadership, his understanding of what we do and his deep care for whom we are,” added Chief Gallagher.