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The story of Freedom House is the birth of the paramedic system as it
is used today. It is a story of innovation, triumph, and unfortunately
of lasting bigotry and hate during one of the most restless periods in
this country's history. The pilot program only lasted from 1967 to
In a brief synopsis that I cannot do justice...
The Freedom House Paramedics Program was pioneered in the inner city of Pittsburgh because the city had no way to get emergency medical care to its most crime infested low-income neighborhood, the Hill District. (You remember the series Hill Street Blues, well, there.) People were dying during a time of great civil unrest. The actual concept of on-site medical care came together here for the first time because there was a doctor who was a God at the most important hospitals in the world and his visions had clout. His pilot program was to train the "unemployable" black men from the streets and turn them into a service that the whole world now takes for granted: Emergency Medical Technicians. What most thought was going to be a folly went the other way and, within short order, these men became living urban legends...
And then it was all destroyed by politics and is now essentially a footnote during black history month and would be dead all together if it weren't for this documentary.
Gene Starzenski's documentary is the only one that has all of the founders of the program in eloquent interviews, telling their story in their own words before they passed on.
This is a documentary that is worth everyone's time to see just for its historical content. It has a story to tell that is worth telling and should be heard.
Great documentary. These guys put their lives in harms way every day
and to have never had any recognition is a sin. Training these young,
black,unemployed men and giving them a place in society in those days
was un heared of. To go into the ghettos where no one else would dare
ventuun heard re to save a life is a testament to these men that should
never be forgotten. Not only were they forgotten, they were replaced by
white folks who could pass a written test & had no medical training.
The ones that had the medical training and no scholastic skills found
themselves unemployed. Great job bringing these guys back to life. Lets
hope these guys can one day get their recondition they deserve.
Don Catalina Manhattan Beach,Ca.
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