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A different breed of patient

Published: Jun 14 2016
A different breed of patient  - Photo
Earlier this year the Bismarck State College Paramedic Technology program had the unique opportunity to assist in the care of a real live patient. Unique because not only was the patient not a dummy, she wasn’t human. Their patient was a tiger named Vemila.

BSC Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) student and director of the Dakota Zoo Terry Lincoln, BSC Paramedic Technology program director Darci Grunett and BSC EMT instructor Tara Wilkens were called upon to assist in monitoring the blood pressure of Vemila while she was sedated for a check-up after a few medical complications.

“Apparently it is not standard to take blood pressures on tigers. There are no real baselines for that,” said Grunett, who admits that she’s done a lot in the field as a paramedic, but this is a first. “The zoo staff and veterinarians were very concerned about Vemila.”

So what started as a discussion about blood pressures in an EMT class, and Lincoln inquiring about the logistics of taking the blood pressure of tigers ended with the three joining veterinarians for Vemila’s check-up under sedation to determine and monitor the wild feline’s blood pressure.

Fortunately, the diagnosis was good, and Vemila received a clean bill of health. She is currently accepting visitors.

For more on this story and others like it, check out the Spring 2016 issue of BSC Magazine.

For more information about the BSC Paramedic Technology program visit