How cool is this?
Dr. Ron Stewart, one of the most famous physicians in the EMS history, and someone I have admired for many many years, is going to make an appearance at the EMS Today Conference next week in Charlotte when Dr. Walt Stoy receives the James O. Page/JEMS Leadership Award on Wednesday, February 21 at 1:00 p.m..
Dr. Stewart who is also the recipient of the James O. Page/JEMS Leadership Award, is traveling all the way to Charlotte from Nova Scotia, Canada to honor Dr. Stoy, who he mentored in his early days in Pittsburgh.
What many people don’t know is that Dr. Stewart was the medical technical advisor to the show Emergency! when he was the young medical director of the Los Angeles County EMS system. Dr. Stewart was a young emergency physician when he met Jim Page, who was then a battalion chief with the L.A. County Fire Department. They went on to work together as technical advisors on Emergency!, crafting the show into the most exciting and technically accurate EMS show in history.
Emergency! marked a pivotal point in EMS, because it introduced paramedics to the American viewing audience as it was on the tail-end of being a “pilot program” of 12 paramedics in L.A. County. Once the show aired, L.A. County had no choice but to continue, expand and perfect paramedicine; the public loved it and demanded it!
The rest is history. Most communities, and many of us, owe our ALS systems – and our careers – to the show. The technical accuracy and excitement that Jim Page and Dr. Stewart brought to it and the enthusiastic acting from Randolph Mantooth (“Johnny”) and Kevin Tigue (“Roy”) made an impact.
Dr. Stewart understood the vision for prehospital EMS when it was in its infancy, and then took it to the highest levels when he became L.A. County’s Medical Director. Dr. Stewart took ownership of it, in the same way many other young emergency medicine physicians did, such as Dr. Gene Nagle in Miami and Dr. Leonard Cobb and Dr. Michael Copass in Seattle.
These young physicians walked the walk: riding the rigs, understanding the needs of the public (and their young, eager paramedics) and passionately crafting the training to make it all happen.
The James O. Page/JEMS Leadership Award is sponsored by Hartwell Medical, and this year’s award
will be presented by Hartwell Medical President Gary Williams, who received Paramedics International Magazine (the predecessor to JEMS) in his mailbox when he was a young EMS provider.
If you take a look at this 1975 cover of Paramedics International Magazine, you’ll see Dr. Stewart on his knees on an L.A. County street, ventilating a patient with a Robertshaw Demand Valve resuscitator.
This set of those rare and famous magazines was owned by Gary Williams in the early days of his career. He gave them to me several years ago for safekeeping. What a gift!
Gary will be on the stage along with the man he greatly admired, Dr. Ron Stewart, when the James O. Page/JEMS Leadership Award is presented to Dr. Stoy.
What a great piece of American EMS history!