Heart Rescue Team
In February, 1974, the Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps, in partnership with Hackensack Hospital and under the leadership of Dr. Michael Yablonski, launched the Heart Rescue Team. This was one of the first such programs in the country, and was the precursor to today’s paramedics.
The Heart Rescue Team was a project designed to quickly bring special hospital care to heart attack victims. The goal was to save lives by providing rapid, on-scene heart care. A car was donated by Hackensack Ford, and the program was sponsored by the Bergen County Heart Association.
A doctor, nurse and volunteer EMT driver manned the vehicle and responded from the hospital emergency room to calls where the dispatcher screened a cardiac emergency. The care provided by the Heart Rescue Team included intravenous injections, heart monitoring and rhythm normalization.
In 1981, the program was taken over by Hackensack Hospital and expanded across Bergen County, becoming the hospital’s mobile ICU unit.