The late William Grace, M.D., F.C.C.P is considered one of the great pioneers in modern cardiac care. In 1968, the
Dr. Grace, Director of Medicine and a chest surgeon at St. Vincent's, along with his associate John A. Chadbourn, M.D. concluded that it was likely that if one could reach the patient sooner, more patient lives could be saved by controlling the life-threatening arrhythmias which killed most of the patients. The concept of moving the coronary care unit outside the hospital to the patient's side had been first demonstrated by Dr. Frank Pantridge and Dr. John Geddes of the
St. Vincent’s first Mobile Coronary Care Unit (MCCU) was configured on a White over Red 1968 Chevrolet Step-Van and utilized a portable battery powered defibrillator/ monitor; a battery-powered electrocardiograph, I.V. kit, resuscitation/ oxygen kit and a drug kit. Personnel included a Red Cross Advanced First Aid trained driver and attendant, an attending physician, resident physician, emergency room nurse, ECG technician and a student nurse observer. The Manhattan New York City Police dispatcher would usually receive “cardiac” calls from beat police officers or the public and alert the St. Vincent hospital operator via telephone. When a cardiac call came in, the on-duty team would be alerted through a personal belt pager and would only have four minutes to arrive in the in the emergency room, gather all equipment and go en-route to the call. The MCCU had a rotating red beacon and red front and rear flashing lights, but no siren and drove at normal speed to a call. The Saint Vincent MCCU response area was bordered by 34th Street to Canal Street and Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River and could often take as long as 15-25 minutes to travel to the most distant location within the St. Vincent ambulance district.
Upon arrival, the team obtained the patients vital signs, obtained a 12 lead electrocardiogram, started an IV and administered required medications. The return to
Keywords: St. Vincents,coronary care, New York
Last Revision Date: 6/10/08 - 3:50 PM