Six medical pioneers were inducted into the newly created Washington Life Science Hall of Fame today, and although some of them have passed away, all of them have contributed to lifesaving technologies that are still works in progress.
Take Karl William Edmark, for example: The founder of Redmond-based Physio-Control invented a direct-current heart defibrillator that was first used to save the life of a 12-year-old girl in Seattle in 1961. Edmark, who was a cardiovascular surgeon as well as a lifelong inventor, died in 1994. But the devices he developed have been repeatedly improved and miniaturized since then.
The improvements were an important factor behind the advent in 1970 of Seattle’s Medic One, a pioneering emergency medical service. Just today, the Medic One Foundation and the Seattle Fire Department announced the city’s official launch of PulsePoint, a smartphone app that alerts citizen responders when someone needs CPR in their vicinity.
“If you’re going to have a cardiac arrest, do it right here in Seattle,” said Cam Pollock, Physio-Control’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, who accepted the Hall of Fame honors on Edmark’s behalf.
The Hall of Fame was established this year by Life Science Washington (which was previously known as the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association) to honor the state’s pioneers in biotech and biomedicine.