Our History - MED-1 Partners
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Our History

The History Of MED-1

The original design of MED-1 resembled a mass-casualty bus—an oversized ambulance to transport large groups of the afflicted from disaster scene to trauma center.

But with the increase in transport capacity, there came unmanageable patient swell at proximate hospitals. To compound the problem, unharmed but frightened patients, known as the “worried well,” were self-triaging, overcrowding hospitals and siphoning resources from the critically injured.
The sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995 further illustrated the need for a more complete, mobile solution. As 5,000 patients quickly overwhelmed and contaminated Japanese hospitals, we learned that biological threats would require patient care mobilized to the scene of a disaster—relieving hospital surge while isolating those most contagious.
Indeed, with the proliferation of bio-infectious agents like SARS, anthrax and pandemic bird flu, traditional quarantine revealed a substantial deficiency. Isolation facilities might shelter hundreds, perhaps thousands of victims with individual, unrelated health issues. And without access to prescription drugs or an operating room, patients in isolation were left perpetually at risk.
In 2000, Dr. Tom Blackwell refined the MED-1 concept to address these topical concerns. He completed his prototype, named Carolinas MED-1, in May of 2004, with funding from the Department of Homeland Security.
MED-1 was officially called into action after Hurricane Katrina, with two government deployments in storm-ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi. Using data from these initial test missions, Blackwell optimized his design for maximum structural efficiency and durability. Today, MED-1 is fully tested, trusted and primed to save the lives of men, women and children worldwide.