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Medic One

From Academic Kids

Medic One can refer to the emergency medical service program (paramedics/EMTs) in King County, Washington, USA; to the approach to emergency medical service developed beginning in 1968 by Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical Center, and the Seattle Fire Department; or to various other emergency medical service programs that operate under the Medic One name. This article is about the King County programs and the approach that led to their founding.

In 1968, Michael Copass, M.D., a neurologist, Leonard Cobb, M.D., a cardiologist, and Seattle Fire Chief Gordon Vickery instituted a research program to determine the effectiveness of training firefighters as emergency-care medics and sending them in ambulances to the scenes of accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other such medical emergencies. By 1970, ten Seattle firefighters had received this training, and all Seattle firefighters had been trained in CPR. The first Medic One call was on March 7 of that year. A 60 Minutes story on the success of Medic One that aired in 1974 called Seattle "the best place in the world to have a heart attack." Today, Seattle is said to have more people trained in CPR per capita than any other city in the world.

Medic One service was extended throughout King County in 1976. As of 2004, King County Medic One incorporates Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) units. BLS units, based at fire departments countywide, are staffed by emergency medical technicians, while the county's five ALS units are staffed by paramedics. The five units are Bellevue Medic One (Bellevue, Issaquah, North Bend, and points east), Evergreen Medic One (Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, Woodinville, and points northeast), King County Medic One (Burien, Renton, Kent, Federal Way, Auburn, Enumclaw, and points south and southeast), Seattle Fire Department Medic One (Seattle), and Shoreline Medic One (Shoreline). Operations are financed by levy.

King County Medic One units are dispatched in a tiered order. Dispatchers receive 911 calls and, using established protocol, input data into a computer-aided dispatch system, which dispatches the nearest appropriate unit. It may be an engine company (BLS unit) only, or a BLS unit with an ALS unit. The BLS unit almost always arrives first and can stablize the patient until the ALS unit arrives.

Most BLS and ALS units will transport the patient to the nearest hospital or trauma center. Occasionally, a private ambulance company will be summoned.

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