Duke Medical Center Archives Blog Category: Duke Firsts

Life Flight flying over hospital

Happy 30th, Life Flight!
Posted On: March 4, 2015 by Jolie Braun

Today we wish a happy birthday to Life Flight, which turned 30 this week! When it started on March 1, 1985, Life Flight was the first hospital-based emergency transportation service in North Carolina. The new service, which had required a year and a half of planning, was significant in a couple of ways: the helicopter could transport critically ill or injured patients more quickly than a ground ambulance, and it allowed Duke to extend its scope of tertiary care to a 150 mile radius of Durham. The helicopter contained everything needed for an airborne intensive care unit, including ventilators, blood pressure monitors, IV fluids and special drugs, cardiac monitors and pacemakers, defibrillators, and intubation equipment. The equipment and supplies,… MORE

Category: Duke Firsts

PA 25th Anniversary Seal

Leading the Way: Stead, Duke and the Physician Assistant Program
Posted On: October 8, 2014 by Matthew Shangler

This week the Archives honors National PA Day (October 6) by highlighting a selection of resources available on the history of the profession and program at Duke. The Physician Assistant (PA) profession has its origins here at Duke with the pioneering efforts of Dr. Eugene A Stead, Jr. Stead first saw a problem for practicing physicians’ access to continuing medical education where many physicians, specifically in rural areas, did not have the time to seek further training due to lack of clinical support. To address this issue, Stead envisioned a physician assistant to provide clinical support to physicians. An experienced educator, Stead knew that many routine tasks performed by doctors were learned through practice and habit, and could be performed by trained assistants. He had seen… MORE

Category: Duke Firsts

Long Before 1,000: Duke's First Heart Transplant
Posted On: September 25, 2014 by Jolie Braun

This month Duke Medicine celebrated completing 1,000 heart transplants, a milestone relatively few medical centers in the country have achieved. In honor of this, we wanted to take a look back to where it all started: Duke's very first heart transplant. This April 1985 issue of the Intercom recounts the intense preparation and work involved in the surgery, which included a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and technicians. Click on the image to enlarge and read the first page of the article.

Category: Duke Firsts

Project MED-AID
Posted On: September 19, 2013 by Jolie Braun

Duke University Medical Center’s history is full of many high-profile firsts. In this post, we're highlighting what is perhaps a slightly less well-known one: Duke was first medical center in the world to offer a radio consultative program to isolated doctors in other countries.

Begun in 1966 through the DUMC Amateur Radio Club, Project MED-AID – short for Medical Assistance for Isolated Doctors – used shortwave amateur radio to provide advice, consultation, and supplies in emergencies to doctors working in developing countries, particularly those in remote areas such as jungle hospitals, mobile units, and village clinics. For doctors working in such environments with few or no options, the radio program was an invaluable resource.

The station, operating under the call… MORE

Category: Duke Firsts