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January 1, 1972


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50 years ago tomorrow Marion General Hospital took over the ambulance service for Grant County in Indiana.  Up to that time emergency ambulance service was provided by private carriers and funeral homes.

The hospital started from scratch, the fall before.  Equipment, supplies.  And they needed people to volunteer for training as EMT's.  Emergency Medical Technician was something most people had never heard of.  

Almost all of the people trained in the first group were current hospital employees.  Orderlies, hospital security.  We also had a few former Army Medics, a couple of former police officers and a handful of previously employed private ambulance crews.

I was a part time employee, an orderly in the ER.  I was a fulltime college student, as were several of my fellow future EMT's.  We began our training in the fall for certification.  EMT was new and the State had not set up guidelines yet, so as a member of the first class we were Registered with the Federal Government.

January 1 hit on a weekend-when I always was scheduled.  I was assigned with the first car out on the second shift of that day.  My partner was an experienced driver with a private carrier, I was a green Attendant.  

Over the next couple of years I got an education in life.  Babies, car accidents, shooting, stabbings, mental patients, heart attacks, broken hips-beginning and end of life.

When we were standing by for Ambulance calls I had to "help" coroners, pathologists perform autopsy.  My duties were grim, and the smell of bologna today takes me right back to the little room off the hallway where the Pathologists did some of their work.

When I graduated from College  I left the hospital and the Ambulance Crew.  I have lost touch with the guys I worked with, but I still think about them from time to time.





Charles Mill Damn.jpg




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