EMS agencies and officials are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the nation's first paramedic act, signed in California on July 15, 1970.
The Wedworth-Townsend Act, signed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan 50 years ago on Wednesday, legally recognized the practice of paramedicine and protected paramedics administering intensive prehospital care in the state, the California Ambulance Association and National EMS Museum recounted in a news release marking the anniversary.
Los Angeles Doctors Walter Graf and J. Michael Criley were the first to train paramedics in the state to deliver pre-hospital care to heart attack patients without direct physician intervention, treating and transporting them in mobile coronary care units and increasing survival rates. Criley and Graf partnered with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn to address the risks of performing intensive care across jurisdictions and operational boundaries, leading to the drafting of the paramedic act.