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Prehospital Care at UPMC Mercy

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UPMC’s Department of Prehospital Care is designed and tasked to support the regional Emergency Medical Services community in the provision of high quality patient care through collaborative educational programming, medical direction, communications, consultation, and research. Our motto is “Helping EMS Help Others.” As part of UPMC Prehospital Care, we work collaboratively with prehospital care providers and agencies to help assure the highest quality of emergency care is available to those who need it.

Learn more about UPMC Prehospital Care.

What Does “Prehospital Care” Mean?

Prehospital care refers to any emergency medical care a patient receives prior to their arrival at the hospital or emergency department. Typically, this care comes from Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers.

What are Emergency Medical Services?

Emergency Medical Services refers to the agencies and personnel who are there to provide prehospital emergency care and rescue services to victims of injury and illness. Typically, this means a local ambulance service staffed with Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and sometimes specially trained nurses and physicians. This also includes similar emergency responders and support staff, such as first responders from the local fire or police department, who may arrive on the scene before the ambulance to help assess the situation and stabilize the patient.

Prehospital 12-lead EKG and Cardiac Catheterization Lab Activation

In the spring of 1996, UPMC Mercy pioneered a bold program to treat heart attack victims aggressively. UPMC Mercy was the first hospital in the area to train and enable EMS to do 12-lead EKGs in field settings, thus providing a more accurate and complete diagnosis for those with potential heart emergencies. Administration of “clot-busting” drugs had been accepted as the standard of care for treating these patients. These drugs, however, can take several minutes to work, sometimes don’t work at all, and many patients cannot receive them because of contraindications or the potential for harmful side effects.

Instead of giving these drugs, through the use of EMS-obtained 12-lead EKGs, we minimized the amount of time spent in the Emergency Department and expedited the patient’s delivery to UPMC Mercy’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab for angioplasty, thereby saving precious time.

If you would be interested in learning more about this program or would like to discuss having a 12-lead EKG training class for your emergency medical service, call 412-232-5855.


Education plays a major role in achieving and maintaining quality performance. With that in mind, UPMC Prehospital Care believes education needs to be a strong component in any prehospital care system.

UPMC Prehospital Care addresses the educational needs of EMS services in our medical command system through dedicated, full-time EMS education specialists, who provide numerous educational opportunities — both at UPMC Mercy and at off-site locations. In this way, UPMC Prehospital Care helps EMS providers enhance their knowledge regarding best practices in patient care and to fulfill their continuing education requirements.

Educational offerings are numerous and diverse. Previously presented topics have covered a wide variety of issues or interest and relevance to local EMS providers, including:

  • Capnography in the EMS environment
  • Current trends in burn management
  • 12-lead EKG interpretation
  • Environmental emergencies
  • Respiratory distress and CPAP
  • Penetrating injuries
  • Pediatric review
  • Altered mental status

Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification and re-certification programs also are offered on a regular basis.

Pre-registration is required for all classes.

For more information, call 412-232-5855.

Medical Direction and Command Center

EMS agencies use a medical command center as a base of operations, whereby a certified medical command physician can be contacted for online consultation relative to direct patient care matters.

UPMC Mercy’s medical command system directly supports various EMS agencies throughout the tri-state area, including:

  • Baldwin Emergency Medical Services
  • Brighton Township VFD QRS
  • Crafton VFD QRS
  • Firemen’s Ambulance Corps of Uniontown
  • Independence Township EMS
  • Presto VFD BLS QRS
  • Premier Prehospital Services

UPMC Mercy’s EMS medical director, an Emergency Department physician, ultimately is responsible for all medical care provided by the EMS agencies that have a relationship with UPMC Mercy’s medical command system. In this capacity, the medical director interviews paramedics who wish to have medical direction through UPMC Mercy, monitors quality assurance, and serves as the liaison with all of the medical command physicians at UPMC Mercy.

When an EMS provider is called to an emergency, they will have direct contact with our UPMC MedCall to facilitate fast, efficient communications with physicians at UPMC Mercy.

Our Staff

The UPMC Prehospital Care Department consists of experienced prehospital care and education professionals.

View a list of UPMC Prehos​pital Care staff.

Contact Us

For more information about UPMC Prehospital Care, contact:

UPMC Mercy Prehospital Care
1400 Locust St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-232-5855
Fax: 412-232-3086

UPMC Prehospital Care Department
230 McKee Place
Suite 911, Fourth Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 1-888-647-9077, Ext. 1
Fax: 412-647-1111​​​​