The Father of EMSC - Dr. Calvin Sia
The Early Years
More than thirty years ago, emergency medical service (EMS) systems were created to provide rapid intervention for sudden cardiac arrest in adults and rapid transport for motor vehicle crash victims. Experiences from the Korean and Vietnam Wars demonstrated that survival rates of seriously injured solders could be dramatically increased by stabilizing them and providing them with immediate transport to a well-equipped trauma center. Attempting to duplicate the success in communities across America, the EMS system was created.
Initially, the medical community failed to recognize that children required specialized emergency care. The most glaring deficiency in past emergency care for children among emergency workers is simply being unaware of the pediatric population’s special needs. In 1972 Calvin Sia, MD, president of the Hawaii Medical Association, urged the American Academy of Pediatrics to develop EMS systems that would decrease disability and death among children. Dr. Sia worked with Senator Daniel Inouye who later was joined by Senators Orrin Hatch and Lowell Weicker in sponsoring the first EMS for Children (EMSC) legislation which passed in 1984. This landmark legislation provided federal grant funds starting in fiscal year 1985 to help states improve the emergency care given to children suffering from a life-threatening illness or injury. EMSC funding was and continues to be secured largely due to the work of the AAP and other national organizations that continue to advocate for EMSC.