“It’s not until death comes to call that most people earnestly grapple with abstract and complex questions like: Is there a God? Is there an afterlife? If there is a God, why does He let a child suffer?

But if you’re an E.M.T. [or other E.M.S. provider], there’s no skirting reality: You see the many faces of death each day—the natural and most unnatural. And since death is so tightly interwoven with spirituality and religion, medical professionals are forced, at some point, to reach deep inside themselves and reassess their beliefs.

‘The human psyche is not meant to walk among the dead, burnt bodies all the time,’ says Capt. Terry Bloss, a chaplain with the Carrollton Fire Department in Carrollton, TX. ‘It’s got to have an impact on you, no matter how strong you are.’

There’ little data on EMS providers’ religious beliefs, largely because of the field’s young history.

Rev. Brown, a chaplain in Albuquerque, NM, states, ‘People are mental, physical and spiritual. We often work on the mind; we read and we study. EMT’s, especially, are always learning new techniques and ways of doing things. Physically, they try to keep in shape. But so often, all of us leave the spiritual side of our lives undone.

(EMS Magazine, September 1994).