AMBULANCE Victoria was celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) last week.

Australia’s first MICA service, and only the third in the world, commenced operations in a converted Dodge vehicle on September 9, 1971.

The father of MICA was Dr Graeme Sloman, and ambulance officers Wally Byrne and Wally Ross became the first of many MICA brothers and sisters.

During a three-month pilot with doctors and ambulance officers, the crew responded to 93 cases, mainly coronary care and road trauma patients.

The first MICA case was a man who collapsed on a roof in Ascot Vale

Before long the MICA unit was responding without doctors on board and, within a few years, was attending 250 cases a month.

Three other MICA units were soon established at Frankston Hospital, the Alfred Hospital, and the Western General Hospital.

Today, there are 600 MICA paramedics in metropolitan and rural regions, and in air ambulance response, providing an internationally recognised advanced level of lifesaving and life changing care.

Ambulance Victoria CEO Professor Tony Walker said MICA was established in collaboration with the medical fraternity – a key factor behind the evolution of the paramedic profession in Victoria and our state-wide system of care that continues to this day.

“The advent of MICA brought coronary care and intensive care into the streets, homes and workplaces of Victorians who needed urgent medical help,” said Prof Walker, who is also a MICA paramedic.

 “Rather than rushing patients to hospital, MICA brought hospital level care to them with ambulance officers able to provide ground-breaking treatment such as defibrillation for patients in cardiac arrest.”

Ambulance Victoria has more than 4800 paramedics (including MICA and ALS paramedics), another 1300 first responders, 100 doctors and approximately 500 corporate employees.