Reprinted from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, Tuesday, July 3, 1990

By Brian Kelley

Is there a better place for a medical emergency than three blocks from the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals?

Try about 50 feet from four of Richmond’s new Advanced Lift Support ambulances parked outside City Hall.

The only drawback: television cameras in your face.

Yesterday morning, as if on cue, a woman fell and injured her shoulder half a block from the new Richmond Ambulance Services Inc. squads, several City Council members, assorted Pooh-Bahs, two MCV doctors, reporters and cameras from practically every news media outlet in the city.

The occasion was a photo opportunity and news conference to show off the new $100,000 ambulances, which went into service yesterday.

Shortly after 111a.m., as Drs. Joseph P. Ornato and Edward M. Racht, co-medical directors of the non-profit service, explained the functions of “the thumper,” the Lifepak 10 defibrillator, the benefits of increased interior space and other key elements of the state-of-the-art ambulances, a murmur went through the crowd.


Someone was down. Dr. Racht and the crew form Medic unit 78 went to the aid of the woman, who had apparently tripped at Ninth and Marshall streets and injured her shoulder.

TV cameramen scrambled up the block as well, not believing their good – in the way of a live-action image – fortune.

The ambulance crew quickly immobilized the woman’s shoulder and strapped her onto a backboard. Meanwhile, police Sgt. Timothy Marland, who just happened to be driving by. Stopped to help with traffic control.

The crew got the injured woman onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. They left for MCV at 11:17 a.m.; Medic 78 was in service four hours earlier than expected.