Ambulance Victoria has celebrated the 45th anniversary of its Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) service.
The first MICA shift ran on September 9, 1971 with two paramedics and a doctor based at the Royal Melbourne Hospital as part of a three-month trial. During the pilot, the crew responded to 93 cases, mainly coronary care and road trauma patients.
The Minister for Health officially commissioned MICA as a permanent 24-hour component of the ambulance service following the success of the trial.
The first MICA vehicle was a reconditioned Dodge 129 known as Car 208. The hospital clinic bus was converted for the purpose and carried a stretcher, defibrillator and electrocardiography (ECG) machine.
Ambulance officers chosen for MICA undertook a short coronary care course that had previously only been run for specialist nurses.
Within a few years, the MICA unit was attending 250 cases a month and three other MICA units were established at the Alfred Hospital, Frankston Hospital and the Western General Hospital.
It was later decided paramedics were accomplished enough to respond without a doctor and today the advanced level of care provided by Victoria’s 550-plus MICA paramedics has been recognised around the world.
Ambulance Victoria CEO Tony Walker attended a morning tea at the Ambulance Museum Victoria with past and present MICA paramedics to mark the milestone.
“It’s a great celebration of a great service. MICA has gone on year on year to deliver even better care to the community. It has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients across this state,’’ Mr Walker, who is also a MICA paramedic, said.
“There are people alive today because of people in this room who did extraordinary things in extraordinary circumstances to deliver fantastic care.
“We continue to so today. Today our MICA service continues to evolve to meet the different needs of the community.’’
A group of retired paramedics from the Ambulance Historic Society recently had Car 208 restored. It is now on display at the new Ambulance Museum Victoria.
This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Ambulance Historic Society of Victoria. In 1986 a group of retired ambulance paramedics identified the need to preserve Victoria’s ambulance history and began searching for suitable vintage ambulances, equipment and memorabilia.
The museum recently moved from Thomastown to a new location in Bayswater.