Dr. Walter Graf, 1917-2015

Emergency medical service providers mourn the loss of Dr. Walter Graf. A cardiologist at Daniel Freeman Hospital, Dr. Graf was a "Pioneer of Paramedicine," and one of the fathers of emergency medical services as they exist today. With grant funds provided by the local chapter of the American Heart Association, he launched a Mobile Coronary Care Unit based on the Pantridge model in 1969: a fully equipped vehicle staffed by nurses who were empowered to start intravenous infusions, administer drugs, and perform defibrillation. Later, he went on to create and direct the Daniel Freeman Paramedic Program (now the UCLA Paramedic Education Program), the first nationally accredited paramedic education program. Dr. Graf died Sunday, October 18, 2015, at the age of 98. He lost his son Dan years ago, and is survived by his wife, Joan, his children Carlyn (Mark), Steve (Paula), Jim (Maura), Pam (Jerry), Bob (Kathryn), Mitchell, Becky (Sigerid), Judi (Fred), Barbara, his 19 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, and his caregiver "to the end," John D. Among his accomplishments:

  • Military Physician in WWII, serving in Europe and Africa
  • Helped to create the concept of Hospital Coronary Care Units in the Nation
  • Established the HEARTMOBILE, one of the first Mobile Coronary Care units in the nation
  • Changed from using Nurses on HEARTMOBILE to Firefighters and Private Ambulance providers
  • Established Daniel Freeman Paramedic Training Program, the first accredited paramedic program in the nation
  • Working with Senators Wentworth and Townsend, developed the first legislation to allow for the practice of Paramedics, signed by Governor Reagan
  • First published paramedicine paper in a peer-reviewed medical journal
  • Chair of the California State EMS Commission
  • Chair of the California American Medical Association Committee on EMS
  • President Los Angeles Chapter of the American Heart Association
  • Developed the National Accreditation for Paramedic Training Programs, working with the AMA
  • Recognized by LACoFD Fire Museum as one of the Pioneers in Paramedicine along with Drs Nagel, Cobb and Criley – see http://www.pioneersofparamedicine.com/ for more information.