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Story 118, called 20 million times in nearly 30 years

Story 118, called 20 million times in nearly 30 years

to Thirty years after the birth of the National Emergency Service Let’s dust off the notebooks to read what we’ve written on the long journey along with the reality that will become the beating heart of emergency healthcare.

Journey started in March 27, 1992 With the launch of the presidential decree that defined three points: the exclusive competence of health services, the eligibility of the rescue activity before hospitalization, its free provision and the activation of a single dedicated number, 118 Who resists in the memory of each of us, even if it is from 2010 to ask for help, you have to call 112, the only European number. However, the story of 118 is a story in itself, made up of enthusiasm, downfalls, ups and downs and a great willingness for change on the part of all the rescuers.

118 . story

The National Service was established in March 1992. Exactly two years later, in March 1994, it became 118 The single number for emergency and emergency contact for Brescia and its province. The first call reached the operations center inside the civil hospital at 12.05 on March 27. Since then the calls have been about twenty millionwhile the Nearly two million and 800 thousand missions.

White Cross Brescia in Rome

Founder’s memory

“We started off quietly, as it was clear that it should be, and then we got older, and after a few years, the operations center received about a million phone calls a day,” he explains. Paolo MarzulloFormer resuscitation physician and head of the civil emergency department, Founder 118 in Brescia. A historical remembrance of a season of the great frenzy, Marzolo recounts what elements led then-President of the Republic Francesco Cossiga to sign the decree in 1992. “In 1990, World Football Championship On that occasion, the cities of Bologna, Milan and Udine organized a unique number, 118, easily recognizable by foreign fans. It was a rough outline of what was going to happen. The Lombardy region had already assumed in July 1991 the creation of Service 118, but its decision was replaced by the Presidential Decree of March 1992. Immediately after that, in the region a group of people from each province (for Brescia there was Paolo Marzolo, editor) set out to work on Establishing an operations center in each governorate. Between the end of 1993 and March 1994, all regional operational centers were opened.

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«The activation of the single number in Brescia was delayed, although the structure to host the operations center was ready – says Marzolo -. I remember I had a meeting with the governor and right after that with the director of civil affairs, who told him, forcing me to squeeze a little, from Palazzo Broletto, they lobbied for Central to run from March 27 because they feared problems would be during the election of 28 policies. So we left.”

How many people are working and still working

In the beginning, it was the operations center Three work stations and twelve nurses To cover 24 hours. Today, to ensure emergency interventions in the Brescia region, there Eight doctors, 37 nurses and 51 driversVoluntary societies, etc 400 people in advanced stations. “The first problem was to make the nearly sixty voluntary associations present in the Brescia region realize that the rescue operation must be conducted under one flag, as well as personal pride and narrow-mindedness – continues Marzullo -. It was a difficult transition that required our continued presence on the ground made up of encounters, interpretations and motivations for Case 118.”


There were three goals What they wanted to achieve with the emergency regulation revolution: Reducing pre-hospital deathsreduce the Average hospital stay (Actually, it was halved and not just for this, editor) and reducedpermanent disability (The decrease was about 65%).

“I would like to mention another aspect that I, as a physician, consider fundamental – and he adds –: the idea that the patient should be taken to the nearest emergency room, but that it was necessary to move him to the most suitable room for him, his health problem was gradually overcome. A concept that people found, in the beginning, Difficult to understand.” The challenge, for the founder, was also personal: “Thanks to 118 I was able to follow every stage of treatment, from first aid to hospital. For me, a resuscitation doctor and head of one of the most important emergency rooms in the area, these have been very exciting years . Does not repeat “.