Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on January 19th, 2016
Dr. Walter Graf: A paramedic pioneer.

Two cars collide in a horrific accident and the victims are in a desperate fight for their lives. What happens next?

Someone immediately calls 911 emergency services.

Yet until the 1970's, most of those emergency services didn't exist.

Prior to that time, ambulances provided no medical care. They were just transport vehicles to rush victims to the hospital, many of whom died in route.

This is where Dr. Graf played a dramatic role:

(Story continues from "Read More")

Dr. Graf (1917 - 2015) was a renowned Los Angeles area cardiologist and his focus was heart attack victims, few of whom survived the ride to the hospital.

Dr. Walter Graf
Dr. Walter Graf  

In 1969, Dr. Graf secured an old delivery van and created "a hospital coronary unit on wheels," with a nurse and a defibrillator.

Heart Truck
Heart Truck  
Photo provided by Margie Chidley

This pilot program was one of the first of its kind and it began saving lives.

To expand this program, Dr. Graf helped to get state approval and then defined and administered the program.

In the program, a group of carefully selected firefighters received extensive training from Dr. Graf and his colleagues. Those firefighters became the first paramedics.

Additional vans were added, carrying a wide range of equipment, allowing those paramedics to treat many emergencies.

But the public at large was unaware of this revolutionary new emergency program.

That is until 1972, when acclaimed television producer Jack Webb ("Dragnet," "Adam-12") introduced the TV series "Emergency!" portraying these new Los Angeles paramedics in action.

In first run and reruns, "Emergency!" was shown all over the world and as a result, the public demanded paramedics.

For 20 years, Dr. Graf headed what is now the UCLA – Daniel Freeman Paramedic Program graduating thousands of paramedics, in the first ever accredited paramedic training program.

So the next time you see paramedics in action, think of Dr. Graf, the cardiologist with a big heart, whose foresight and determination helped to make paramedics possible.

Editor's Note: To learn more click here, here, here, here, and here. To learn more about the "Emergency!" television series, click here.

Thank you to Anne's and my son, Dr. Clayton Kazan for introducing Dr. Graf's story to us.

Comments

From: Clayton Kazan
Subject: Little Known Facts About Dr. Graf

Learned to read by 3. His mother would read encyclopedias to him. He graduated from high school at 12. He worked at Yankee Stadium during the depression to help his family, for 25 cents/hour, and watched Ruth and Gehrig play. When he decided to go to medical school, he found out that it cost $150, and, during the depression, he was unable to pay. Someone heard his plight and gave him the money the day before school would start.

He served in WWII as a doctor in North Africa and Europe. He was on R&R from Africa in Europe when he was told that they were short doctors and he was going to be sent to the front...but there weren't enough spaces to take he and another doctor at the same time...so they flipped a coin, and Dr. Graf lost, so the other doctor went first. When Dr. Graf got to the front, his first patient was a victim of a gunshot wound to the head, whom he cared for until death...the victim was the doctor who had won the coin toss. He would tell friends that he survived the war because he lost a bet. While in Europe, he took a Nazi prisoner that had broken legs...despite being alone and Jewish, he picked up the man and carried him to the nearest base and cared for his broken legs.

There is a terrific video on the following website in which Dr. Graf and 3 of his colleagues were interviewed...it took place in 2010...it's 46 minutes long, but you can hear the story by men who lived it...it gives you a good window into what I do.

http://www.pioneersofparamedicine.com/PioneersOfParamedicine.html

In the next KazanToday: An 83 year old homeless man rescued by his community.

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