Happy EMS Week! History of Emergency Medical Services at MSBI

A history of the ambulance service at Roosevelt Hospital, today’s Mount Sinai West, is available here. See the Building Beth Israel series for more information about the history of Mount Sinai Beth Israel. An interactive map of Beth Israel historical locations is available here. 

National EMS Week is May 15-21. In this blog post, we’re celebrating by looking back at a brief history of emergency medical services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. 

The first ambulance service began at Beth Israel Hospital in 1906. It first used a horse-drawn carriage, later switching to automobiles in 1915. During this early period, ambulances were manned by members of the house staff, including Nettie Shapiro, MD, the first female house staff at MSBI in 1909.  

Harry Loeb, MD, posing with Beth Israel ambulance, circa 1915. This would have likely been the first motorized ambulance purchased by the hospital.

By 1984, Beth Israel was “the first voluntary hospital in New York City to have attending physicians fully trained in emergency service on duty around the clock, every day of the week.” New York City did not mandate such 24-hour care in EMS participant hospitals until June 1, 1987.

In 1990, the Division of Emergency Medical Services was named for David B. Kriser, a Beth Israel trustee, in honor of a $3 million bequest from him. This led to a major renovation, and the division doubled in size. 

 

Sources:  

Authored by Stefana Breitwieser, Digital Archivist