#329 The First Ambulance: The Humans (and Horses) That Saved New York

EPISODE 329 Did you know that the first modern ambulance -- as in a 'mobile hospital' -- was invented in New York City?

On June 4, 1869, America’s first ambulance service went into operation from Bellevue Hospital with a driver, a surgeon, two horses and equipment including a stretcher, a stomach pump, bandages and sponges, handcuffs, a straight-jacket, and a quart of brandy.

Within just a couple years, the ambulance became an invaluable feature of New York health, saving the lives of those who might otherwise die on the streets of the city. They proved especially helpful in a riot -- of which there were many in the 19th century!

In this show, you'll be introduced to a new way of thinking about urgent injuries and emergency care. True emergency medicine was not a serious factor in major hospitals until the 1960s. Yet on-the-job injuries and terrible trauma from violent crime was a perpetual problem in New York.

What was life like in the city before the advent of the ambulance? How did ambulances work in the era before the telephone?

PLUS: A tribute to the ambulance workers -- the EMTs, paramedics and drivers -- who have risked their lives to save those of other New Yorkers.


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