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50 years ago, this changed EMS forever

WASHINGTON D.C., September 1966

During the past three years, Committees on Trauma, Shock, and Anesthesia, and special task forces of the Division of Medical Sciences, National Academy of Sciences – National Research Council, have reviewed with representatives of a large number of organizations, the present status of initial care and emergency medical services afforded to the victims of accidental injury.

And so began the preface of Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society. What led so many brilliant minds to the topic of accidental death and injuries? Unlike today, the push for better healthcare didn’t come from interest groups or associations. In fact, the white paper makes an interesting observation:

“The general public is insensitive to the magnitude of the problem of accidental death and injury, said the paper, “Millions lack instruction in basic first aid.”

In 1966, the accidental death rate was at an all-time high, increasing by nearly two percent in just 12 months. That was the same year the white paper Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society was released.

“In 1965, 52 million accidental injuries killed 107,000, temporarily disabled over 10 million and permanently impaired 400,000 American citizens at a cost of approximately $18 billion. This neglected epidemic of modern society is the nation’s most important environmental health problem. It is the leading cause of death in the first half of life’s span. Although 49,000 deaths in 1965 were due to motor-vehicle accidents, more than this number died from accidents at work, in the home, in other forms of transportation, in public buildings, in recreational activities, etc.”

In September, we celebrate to the 50th Anniversary of of Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society. To commemorate this, we thought it would be well worth reading it again. What’s changed? What hasn’t?

 Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society.