Pre-Hospital Care

Pre-Hospital Care

St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center Ambulance Service acquired its first ambulance in 1877, among the first on the streets of New York City. The medical specialty of Emergency Medicine, since its inception almost one hundred years later, has been the ultimate “team sport” among the medical fields. The EMT, paramedic, physician, nurse, ED tech, social worker and administrator have always worked “face to face; hand to hand” to manage a difficult environment and to provide critically needed care. At St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, the ambulance and its staff have been a part of that team since the era when the emergency department was run by a nurse and the doctor was on call well over 150 year ago. We have and continue to improve our team of physicians, nurses, EMTs and paramedics at a phenomenal rate.

Our ambulance service has always taken the lead and has been an innovator in the field of emergency medical services in New York City. It was; on the streets when ambulances were drawn by horses, the first EMS service in New York City to employ women, and among the first to support full paramedic care. Ours was the first ambulance service to use thrombolytics in the field (“Out-of-Hospital Paramedic Administered Streptokinase for Acute Myocardial Infarction,” Lancet, page 1187, 1988). Its area of service extends from Harlem, through Morningside Heights, Central Park, and the Upper West Side into the center of Midtown Manhattan and the theater district.

As ambulance receiving hospitals, we have a special advantage. With New York Presbyterian Hospital 50 blocks north of us, with St. Vincent’s Hospital 50 blocks south of us, and with no other hospitals on the West Side, we have one of the largest areas of responsibility of any ambulance service in the city. With all of the city’s public hospitals (Bellevue, Metropolitan and Harlem) within a block of the East River and quite distant from us, our ambulance responsibility and variety of our patient mix is superb. We serve a hugely diverse and exciting ambulance receiving area with almost no competition from any other hospital either private or public; its population (over 500,000) is larger than some states. The scope and diversity of patient care we offer in the ED is the result of this and one of the best features of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.

The hospital and the emergency department have assumed significant responsibilities by designating our facility as a trauma center, a center for myocardial infarction, stroke center, hypothermia receiving center and a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner center of excellence. In New York City, an ambulance and emergency department’s level of respect can be defined by listening to the TV and by hearing where the police and fire department staff go; we know who comes to us.

The New York City EMS system is a strange hybrid of both fire department ambulances and private hospital ambulances all dispatched and medically controlled by a central 911 response system. We have served as a “private ambulance provider” since the system began. We employ 100 pre-hospital staff: 18 full time paramedics and 26 part time paramedics, 18 full time EMTs and 26 part time EMTs. Our vehicles are the newest and best in the city. We have a fleet of 10 ambulances and we respond to 27,000 calls on average per year, delivering 20,000 patients to New York City emergency departments.

Our emergency physicians have been active participants in the development of the NY City and NY State EMS Systems. They have served on the City and State EMS Councils, have chaired and founded the NYC Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee, and continue to participate actively in defining the policies, protocols, and curricular for EMTs and paramedics in the City and State. Many of our graduates have completed EMS fellowships.

We also have a “corporate ambulance” called FASTcare, offered to the organizations and businesses in our community. We have a close working relationship with these sites and define efficient plans of entry into the work spaces for ambulances, train the employees how to respond to on-site emergencies and how to contact us. This service is paramedic only and has been providing service since 1980. Its clients include Time Warner, Marriott and Colgate-Palmolive, most of the cruise ships, and many Broadway theaters.

Our paramedics and EMTs have provided and continue to provide care at the New York City marathon where residents and attendings have staffed a “medical care tent” at the finish line every year for 25 years. We provide service to Bike America NYC Tour, the crowds at the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, the New Year’s celebration in Times Square and many other venues throughout the city. Our ED is “on call” when the President of the United States joins us on the West Side of Manhattan.

You will enjoy working with and learning from both the paramedics and EMTs at both St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals for about two weeks integrated into your first year ED rotations. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to speak to the Medical Director of Pre-Hospital Care at 212-523-6745.


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