Virtual Museum > EMS History > Timeline
Grady Memorial Hospital first opened on June 1 1892 as Atlanta’s second oldest hospital, and was named for Henry W, Grady who was the managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper during that era. When it opened, the facility featured 100 beds and a single operating room that featured an amphitheater for medical students to observe the operations being conducted below. In the latter 1890’s the hospital began operating a small fleet of horse-drawn ambulance carriages that were staffed with horseman and physician. The carriage featured a slide out stretcher on which the stricken patient could be laid.
Grady ambulances responded to the tragic Winecoff Hotel fire in 1946 in which over 144 persons perished. In 1949, a Grady Ambulance also transported Margaret Mitchell, author of the epic novel “Gone With the Wind, “when she was struck by a taxi in downtown Atlanta.
During the early 40’s the Grady Memorial Hospital Ambulance Service operated late 30’s Packard vehicles until the end of World War II. That was due to the unavailability of new manufactured ambulances to the civilian market due to the war effort. These vehicles were mainly equipped with a stretcher.
The City of Atlanta Government was now operating Grady under its municipal structure. In the late 50’s and during the 60’s, the Grady Memorial Hospital Ambulance Service began operating approximately five International “Travel-All” model trucks which were equipped with only a portable oxygen inhalator, a splint kit, s stretcher and a black “doctors bag” which was stocked with basic first aid supplies.
The drivers were sworn in as City of Atlanta “Special Police Officers” and displayed the Atlanta Police Patch, same badge style and carries a gun, handcuffs and a flashlight. One of the ambulances was designated as a “sick car” and was staffed with a physician. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, the other ambulances were staffed with medical school interns who had also completed the Red Cross Advanced First Aid course.
By the mid 60’s the interns had been replaced with first aid trained ambulance attendants. In 1970, the ambulance service changed over to operating Chevrolet “Suburban” model low-roof ambulances which were equipped with a medical kit, oxygen, air splint kit, Thomas Half-Ring splint, wooden backboards, ambu-bag, a portable stretcher and a multi-level patient cot. By this time, most attendants had completed the three-day American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) Emergency Care Practical Course along with Advanced First Aid and CPR. The attendants usually wore blue jeans and a white intern style smock with an “AMBULANCE” patch on the back with the ambulance patch on the left shoulder, the AAOS patch on the right, the Red Cross Advanced or Instructor patch over the left pocket and a name plate on the right. By this time, the drivers wore a white shirt, gray pants with a black stripe and a police style cap.
In 1972, the ambulance service changed over to raised roof Chevrolet ambulances that were fully equipped with the Federal recommended ambulance equipment and met the design criteria. By late ’75, the service again changed over to operating raised roof Dodge van ambulances and initiated its first paramedic ambulance in 1976. By the latter 70’s the service fully converted to Type I Chevrolet modular ambulances that were all paramedic level units. Today, the ambulance service is Grady Health System Emergency Medical Services and is the primary 911 provider for all of the City of Atlanta.
Keywords: Grady, Atlanta, Hospital
Last Revision Date: 12/31/69 - 4:00 PM