Professor James Francis “Frank” Pantridge (1916 – 2004) was a Northern Irish cardiologist and widely regarded as the father of emergency medicine.
Pantridge suggested that most coronary deaths resulted from ventricular fibrillation within one hour of the onset of symptoms and usually outside of the hospital. To reduce prehospital coronary deaths Pantridge designed a ‘portable’ defibrillator from a mains operated machine charged by two 12-volt car batteries through a static invertor. He recommissioned a discarded ambulance and employed Dr John Geddes and an ambulance driver to respond to phone calls from GP’s in the community.
…it has been shown perhaps for the first time that the correction of cardiac arrest outside hospital is a practicable proposition
- Born 3 October 1916 Hillsborough, Northern Ireland
- 1939 – Graduated BM in medicine, Queen’s University of Belfast
- WWII – Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC); PoW 1942
- 1945 – Awarded the Military cross for gallant and distinguished services in Malaya in 1942
- 1946 – MD, Queen’s University of Belfast
- 1946 – University of Michigan, he worked with FN Wilson a leading authority on electrocardiography
- 1950 – Consultant cardiologist, Royal Victoria Infirmary Belfast
- 1969 – Officer of the Order of St. John (OStJ)
- 1974 – Fellow of the American College of Cardiology
- 1979 – Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
- Died 26 December 2004
- Pantridge defibrillator (1965) – first ‘portable’ defibrillator operated from car battery and weighed 70kg – using a miniature capacitor manufactured for NASA he designed an instrument weighing only 3KG IN 1968.
- Pantridge Plan (1966) The Belfast Coronary Care Scheme (mobile intensive-care unit) was a prehospital coronary care unit staffed by a nurse and doctor. Notably, this plan was used to manage President Lyndon Johnson when he suffered a heart attack while on a visit to Virginia in 1972.
any lay individual who could do CPR is capable of using a defibrillator…a defibrillator should be beside every fire extinguisher…life is more important than propertyPantridge 1970
- Pantridge JF. Beriberi; etiological and clinical considerations. Ulster Med J. 1946 Nov;15(2):180-8. [PMC2479286]
- Pantridge JF. Cardiac lesions in thiamin deficiency. Br Heart J. 1948 Oct;10(4):252-62. [PMC503629]
- Pantridge JF, Halmos PB. Conversion of atrial fibrillation by direct current counter shock. Br Heart J. 1965 Jan;27:128-31. [PMC490143]
- Pantridge JF, Geddes JS. A mobile intensive-care unit in the management of myocardial infarction. Lancet. 1967; 290(7510): 271-273
- Pantridge JF, Wilson C. A history of prehospital coronary care. Ulster Med J. 1996 May;65(1):68-73. [PMC2448738]
- Pantridge JF. An unquiet life: memoirs of a Physician and Cardiologist. Greystone Books. 1989
- Altman LK. Portable Heart Unit Is Developed. New York Time. AUG. 11, 1975
- Professor Frank Pantridge. The Telegraph. 29 Dec 2004
- Evans A. Frank Pantridge. BMJ. 2005 Apr 2; 330(7494): 793. [PMC555899]
- Morrison PJ. Professor Frank Pantridge – from Beriberi to pre-hospital coronary care. Ulster Med J. 2010 Jan; 79(Suppl 1): 1–2. [PMC2828883]
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