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Remembering Paramedic, EMS storyteller Thaddeus ‘Ted’ Setla

Setla was a talented filmmaker who communicated the reality of EMS to educate, entertain and advocate

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Setla partnered with paramedics Marc Glencorse, Justin Schoor, Tom Bouthillet and more to produce documentaries including “Level Zero,” “Beyond the Lights and Sirens” and the “Code STEMI” series to share best practices and improve healthcare.


Thaddeus “Ted” Setla, age 47, experienced sudden cardiac arrest on May 3. A few days ago, May 11, his family shared he wasn’t going to survive and they were saying goodbye. Ted was a paramedic, filmmaker, and entrepreneur.

Ted’s first EMS film “Level Zero” was a documentary short placed in Alameda County, California. His next EMS film project was a partnership with UK paramedic Marc Glencorse and California paramedic Justin Schoor on the EMS documentary, “Beyond the Lights and Sirens,” filmed in San Francisco. Ted gave Justin and Marc a platform to tell the story of their EMS experiences, encourage paramedics to learn from their colleagues and explain how social media was expanding the boundaries of what we can learn about EMS from one another.

Next, Ted partnered with Tom Bouthillet on the “Code STEMI” documentary series. They explored top performing healthcare systems in North Carolina, Michigan, South Dakota and London to share best practices and improve healthcare.

I was fortunate to have met Ted, visit with him many times at EMS conference exhibit halls and after-hours events. Ted was enthusiastic about telling the story of EMS through his skills as a filmmaker with the trained eye of a paramedic.

Ted’s projects weren’t about him, but the people he could bring together to make a project happen. Instead of “I can do this,” I always think of Ted as a “we can do this.” He connected people who shared passions for EMS, education and storytelling to help advance our profession.

Ted’s passion and dedication to EMS, patient care and professional growth will live on in his films and the people he inspired. I will miss the warmth of his greeting, the strength of his handshake, his earnestness to hear about what I was working on and his eagerness to introduce me to other EMS professionals doing great work.

Ted’s network of friends and colleagues spanned the globe and included many of the finest people in EMS. Though we are grieving for the loss of our friend, we are proud to have known Ted and supported his work, and sad we will not meet again.

Read: A 2009 interview with Mark Glencorse, Justin Schorr and Ted Setla

Share: Friends of Thaddeus “Ted” Setla are sharing memories in a Facebook group

Watch: Video trailer for Code STEMI London

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is the Lexipol Editorial Director, leading the efforts of the editorial team on Police1, FireRescue1, Corrections1 and EMS1. Greg served as the EMS1 editor-in-chief for five years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from the University of Idaho. He is an educator, author, national registry paramedic since 2005, and a long-distance runner. Greg was a 2010 recipient of the EMS 10 Award for innovation. He is also a three-time Jesse H. Neal award winner, the most prestigious award in specialized journalism, and the 2018 and 2020 Eddie Award winner for best Column/Blog. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn.