Administration and Leadership, News

‘Father of EMS’ in Indianapolis Passes Away

Michael Olinger, MD, is being mourned today by the EMS and IndyCar community. (Photo provided by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security)

Michael Olinger, MD, Indianapolis’ original Eagle and the former medical director of IndyCar, died at his home yesterday. He was 69.

The news was first reported by IndyCar.

Dan O’Donnell, MD, the Medical Director for Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services, said Olinger “was really the father of EMS here in Indianapolis and truly one of the old guard in our field.”

Dr. Olinger joined the AMR IndyCar Safety Team when IndyCar was formed in 1996, the organization said. He was appointed as Indiana’s first emergency medical services medical director in 2014, holding the job for two years.

Some of IndyCar’s drivers reacted to Olinger’s death on Twitter.

Dr. Olinger was a professor of clinical emergency medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine and served as medical director for the Indianapolis Fire Department and Indianapolis EMS. Additionally, he was an appointee to the Indiana EMS Commission.

He also served as the Medical Director for Marion County’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force (Indiana-Task Force 1) and was deployed by FEMA to the Oklahoma City Bombing, Hurricane Marilyn, the DeBruce Grain Elevator explosion, the Atlanta and Salt Lake City Olympic Games, the Sept. 11 attacks, the recovery mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia crew, and hurricanes Frances and Katrina.

A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1983, Olinger, a former helicopter pilot in the Army, completed his Residency in Emergency Medicine in 1987 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

He survived by his wife Jeanette, children and grandchildren, IndyCar said.

Funeral services are pending.