MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – This week’s Healthcare Hero is Steve Ashcraft, who is the manager of the command center at WVU Medicine.
The center coordinates all of the aeromedical helicopters in north central West Virginia for both inter-facility hospital transports and scene flights. It also also takes reports for pre-hospital care providers and does medical consultations and real-time quality assurance and quality improvement assessments.
Even though his current position is a desk job, Ashcraft has more than 28 years of experience in a variety of medical positions.
Ashcraft started back in 1993 as a volunteer firefighter. He moved up to become an EMT, a paramedic and, eventually, a professional firefighter for the City of Clarksburg. After that, he finally landed his favorite job: flight paramedic.
“The gratification of helping people was a huge motivation to keep moving up in the ranks,” Ashcraft said. “My initial goal was to become a pilot for the Air Force, and then I ended up in EMS. So, I still got the flight part of it, and I still got to take care of people, so it was the best of both worlds.”
But, with all the good comes some bad. Ashcraft said the stress of the job didn’t just go away when his shift was up.
“I have personally taken things home,” Ashcraft said. “I’ve taken things to heart. I’ve had to take care of one of my best friends that expired in my presence.”
Michael Garrett as killed in the line of duty while responding to a cell phone tower collapse in February 2014. Ashcraft was on the med flight that took him to the hospital.
“Been years, still, still affects you. It gets better as time goes,” Ashcraft said.
Now Ashcraft is on his current position as command center manager.
“I like my position in the medical command center,” Ashcraft said. “It’s still, I still get gratification out of the job I do, and I’m happy where I work. I love working for WVU Medicine. The recognition’s great, but, no, I don’t believe that anyone in healthcare will tell you that they’re a hero.”