The first-ever International Paramedics Day will be held today, 8th July 2022, to recognise and celebrate the work carried out by paramedics and first responders around the world. Throughout the Covid pandemic, paramedics have put the well-being and interests of others first, working tirelessly in the most challenging of circumstances and often at great risk to themselves.
The 8th of July is being dedicated to the world’s paramedics as it is the anniversary of the birth of Dominique-Jean Larrey, the man often referred to as the ‘father of modern-day ambulance services’. Dominique-Jean Larrey, a French military doctor a became Napoleon Bonaparte’s chief surgeon of the Grande Armée, was born in 1766 in a small village of Beauden in the Pyrenean Mountains.
In the course of his career, Larrey helped treat and save hundreds of lives on the battlefields during Napoleonic times. But it’s his introduction of the first purpose-built ambulances and creation of the triage system which have undoubtedly proved to be his most significant legacy.
When the French Revolutionary Wars began in 1792, as a regimental surgeon-major, Larrey and his medical team were forced to remain at least three miles behind the frontline so that if wounded soldiers needed treatment they would either have to find their own way to the field hospital or be carried there by their comrades. It meant ordinary soldiers would often have to wait days for treatment because those of a higher rank would be prioritised, and in many cases, they never received any treatment at all.
In order to counter this problem, Larrey came up with the idea of a ‘flying ambulance’. He argued that using a light transport vehicle to move soldiers from the battlefield would not only reduce response times, it would also increase survival rates. Despite some pretty fierce opposition from the military, the following year at the Battle of Metz, light horse-drawn carriages, complete with strong padding and suspension for patient comfort, and a fold-down ramp to use as a makeshift operating table were introduced on the battlefield. These ‘flying ambulances’ would later be used in all of the battles fought during the Revolutionary Wars.
International Paramedics Day has been created, organised and run by the College of Paramedics in the UK, with support from professional paramedics’ organisations from around the world.
International Paramedics Day sets out to:
- Celebrate paramedics and first responders around the globe and the vital role they play
- Acknowledge the difference paramedics make to people’s lives in almost every imaginable situation
- Raise awareness of all the settings where paramedics work including primary and secondary care, GP surgeries, military, offshore, helicopter emergency medical services, education, research and telephone triage systems
- Promote the profession to aspiring paramedics and students
THEME FOR 2022
The theme for the first-ever International Paramedics’ Day 2022 is Proud to be a Paramedic which we hope will resonate with paramedics everywhere, regardless of which area of para-medicine they operate in.
International Paramedics Day is about celebrating and recognising the work that paramedics do around the world and the many different ways in which they help and care for people when they need it most.
We are calling on all paramedics to share their proudest moments – and all members of the public to share their stories and experiences of being helped by paramedics – on social media using the hashtags #ProudToBeAParamedic, #IPD2022 and #InternationalParamedicsDay