#AtoZchallenge: History of Paramedicine – H is for Hospital

Those who know me know that one of the biggest interests is in the area of Fire/EMS (though I am not, myself a Firefighter or an EMT/Paramedic).  I decided this year to do my A-Z Challenge using the theme “History of Paramedicine….

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AtoZ - HAs expected, Hospitals play a huge role in pre-hospital care.
One of the first hospital based ambulance was based out of Commercial Hospital in Cincinnati, OH in 1865.  This was soon followed by other hospital based ambulances across the country.  Of course in those days the “Ambulance Attendants” could do little more than provide the most basic of first-aid care.  Beyond that, the “scoop and run” method was all that could be done.
In 1969 Paramedic programs were developed and implemented in both Los Angeles (In conjunction with Harbor General –  Now known as Harbor-UCLA Medical Center) and Seattle (In conjunction with Harborview Medical Center – part of UW Medicine) —  Interesting to note (for A-Z Challenge) that both these start with the letter H.   It was through on these early programs that other Paramedic programs around the U.S. were based.
If I am to understand correctly, in the beginning stages of the “Modern EMS” system there was a lot of disdain and doubt going on.  Early on, firefighters were under the thinking that ‘We fight fires, not rescue bodies and deliver babies’.  Ambulance Duty was considered a form of punishment to most firefighters.  In addition to that there was doubt by Medical Doctors as to whether or not a non-medical professional (ie one who has not been through a complete regiment of training required by doctors) could learn to provide care, normally only found in the hospital setting, in a pre-hospital setting.  Pretty much everything the early EMT’s and Paramedics did was a game of “Mother May I” (or in this case “Doctor May I”)  Standards of Care and Standard Operating Procedures as we know them today didn’t really exist in the field.   As trust between doctor/hospital and EMT/Paramedic has grown, focus has shifted from that of a permission (by doctor) needed basis to treating according to pre-set standards first and contacting the hospital either to advise an “en-route” report (including status of patient & necessary data) or to seek advice when pre-set standards have been exhausted.
Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_medical_services

https://emra.org/committees-divisions/ems/ems-history/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramedic

http://www.naemt.org/Libraries/NAEMT%20Documents/EMS%20Historical%20Perspective.sflb

An Interesting Read about the early days of EMS in Alameda County (Did you know that as last as the early 1970’s ambulance attendants/drivers had to ring the bell to many hospital Emergency Rooms in order to have the doors opened at night (this was if there was even someone on staff there.)
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I’m sorry to skip out on listing the 5 “blogs to follow” this time around.  I still have letter I to get done and several other things that require my time.  You can click HERE to check out the list of blogs signed up for the  A-to-Z Challenge.
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