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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

“I’m Not Scared of Anything”: Sophomore Benjamin Chang Saves Life as EMS Volunteer

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  • Smiling wide, Benjamin Chang ’26 poses proudly for a picture in an EMS truck. An aspiring anesthesiologist, Chang volunteers with the EMS to heighten his passion for medicine.

    Courtesy of Benjamin Chang
  • Fully suited, Benjamin Chang ’26 takes a picture with an EMS truck for the program. A part of the EMS youth program, Chang volunteers on ambulances every Monday.

    Courtesy of Benjamin Chang
  • Starting off his day strong, Benjamin Chang ’26 takes a picture while working. Chang began volunteering with the EMS freshman year, when EMS workers recruited at Westwood.

    Courtesy of Benjamin Chang
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Abandoning all fear and letting instinct kick in, Benjamin Chang ‘26 implemented the skills he mastered to save a 74-year-old man’s life in a high-stakes situation. Unaware he would emerge a hero that day, Chang had been volunteering with the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) when he received a call from a concerned son, terrified that his father’s heart had stopped beating. 

Chang, his teacher Mel Malone, and other volunteers immediately left the St. David’s EMS station on Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. after being dispatched to a priority 1 cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in progress, the most life-threatening call, necessitating ambulance lights and sirens. They rushed behind the command trucks to reach their destination. However, what would’ve been a 5-minute drive was extended: their ambulance broke down. Pushing through the obstacles he faced, Chang first arrived at the scene to see that his patient was crammed near a bed in a small room, where his son was performing compressions.

So when I saw it happen, I just hopped on in and started [administering CPR] for five minutes straight. It wasn’t scary for me.

— Benjamin Chang

“Once the son saw us come in, he stopped doing compressions, which is not something we encourage,” Chang said. “So when I saw it happen, I just hopped on in and started [administering CPR] for five minutes straight. It wasn’t scary for me.” 

After Chang performed 30 more minutes of CPR with the help of three other volunteers, the patient was revived and achieved a Response of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC), meaning his heart started pumping on its own and CPR was not needed any longer. He was brought back to St. David’s Main Hospital after Chang saved his life.

“It looked like my patient’s only family member was his son, and I just felt bad for him because I didn’t want him to lose a loved one, so I was glad that we got a heartbeat back,” Chang said. 

At just 15 years of age, Chang volunteers most of his free time to work for the EMS. By being involved in the A/TCEMS Explorer Post 247, a youth program where volunteers meet every Monday to go on ambulances around the city and work 12-hour shifts with Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics, Chang cultivates his passion for medicine.

“During my freshman year, they had an ambulance come to show off what the EMS could do, and the medics were recruiting people to join the program by showing them what that perspective of healthcare looks like,” Chang said. “So I thought, why not give it a try, and I end up here.”

As an aspiring anesthesiologist, Chang is determined to attend medical school and prepares himself for what’s to come through this program.

“The program gives me experience and skills that I could use for myself and the future,” Chang said.

I spent my childhood in California, in a part of town where many gang-affiliated people lived near us. There would be a lot of deaths and police would come over often, so there was a lot of trauma in that neighborhood. Now I’m used to it.

— Benjamin Chang

Chang believes that the EMS is for people who can push aside doubts in intense scenarios to focus on what matters without getting overwhelmed: a skill he has mastered due to the environment he grew up in. 

“I spent my childhood in California, in a part of town where many gang-affiliated people lived near us,” Chang said. “There would be a lot of deaths and police would come over often, so there was a lot of trauma in that neighborhood. Now I’m used to it.” 

Chang’s fellow volunteer, Katherine Mayer ‘25 commended his work ethic and attitude as a responsible and knowledgeable Sergeant. 

“Ben is very well-versed in the world of EMS, and since he has entered the post, he has grown as a person and as a future medic,” Mayer said. “He always makes sure that everyone in his [group] is doing well and he’s an amazing person who has such a big heart, no matter who you are.”

Looking forward to saving more lives and becoming the healthcare professional he aims to be, Chang is eager to continue volunteering with the EMS. 

“I’m not scared of anything,” Chang said. 

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About the Contributor
Mishree Narasaiah, Reporter
Class of 2025 Hey! I'm super excited to be part of Student Press because this community of like-minded people truly enables me to capitalize on my passion for writing while making meaningful connections and memories! When I'm not busy with schoolwork, I enjoy spending time with my friends, family, and dog, watching TV, reading books, playing the guitar, and thinking about abstract concepts and theories.

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