Nancy Caroline, MD

The first summer after High School I took an EMT class, mostly because it was a good way to fill the summer without having to get a real job. I discovered I liked the challenge and idea of prehospital care, and after a year of college, I began to work full time in an Emergency Department while taking Paramedic classes. The text was Nancy Caroline’s “Emergency Care in the Streets”, which was the standard text of the time for the emerging field of professional prehospital care. In many ways this was my first introduction to ‘real’ medicine; acid-base equations, cardiac rhythms and their diagnosis, emergency medications, etc. The book was well written and entertaining, and it spoiled me; I still expect EM texts to have the same style and sentence construction in every chapter, which is not the case (the current standard, Tintinalli, has one zillion chapter authors, and although some effort was given to uniformity of presentation, the differences in writing styles can be jarring). Moreover, it teased me, fired the imagination: if I can do this, what else could I do? She never heard of me, or of the many her text taught and touched.

I read of her death today, of cancer, at the age of 58. I will always appreciate her for turning the head of this West Texas kid toward Emergency Medicine.

Thank you, Nancy Caroline, MD.


  1. Rebecca Caroline says:

    Hi, I am Nancy Caroline’s niece and one of her biggest fans. She has been my hero and my role model my entire life, and I still aspire to find a way into the field of emergency medicine, though my opportunities have been seriously limited due to the fact that I am totally blind and physically disabled. Nancy’s loss hit me very hard, and I’m grateful to see your comments about how she touched your life. Please feel free to write to me if you would, and if it’s okay, I’d like to forward your comments to my grandmother, Nancy’s mom, as well, as it has been a tremendous blow to her as well and I know she’d love to read what you have to say, and would be grateful if you would send her a personal E-mail as well if you’d like. Thank you so much for your kind words. I would be most grateful to talk to you further. –Becky Caroline

  2. Paul Harnish says:

    I studied from ” Emergency Care in the Streets ” in 1991, prior to leaving Nova Scotia Canada to attend Paramedic School in Pittsburgh.
    Dr.’s Nancy Caroline and Ron Stewart were the two main reasons I chose Pittsburgh, and as well, why I did my ride along time in the Hill District with Medic 5.
    Dr. Caroline serves as an inspiration to me even now, as I am nearing the date that I will submit my first text attempt ” Prehospital Life Support, Emergency Medical First Responder, for publication. I am currently developing a text for each of the EMS disciplines as well.
    The death of Dr. Caroline saddened me greatly for I had hoped one day to meet her and possible obtain her approval for my text work.
    EMS would not be where it is now, were it not for the struggles of physicians et al like Dr. Caroline.

    My condolences on your loss,


    Paul Harnish
    Paramedic III
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

  3. Fred Lawrence says:

    Nancy Caroline is the greatest loss to paramedic medicine in the United Kingdom, her emergency care books have been the bible for the training of paramedics in the UK. for 15 years. As a paramedic training manager for one of the largest ambulance services in England it gives me great pleasure to say about this incredible woman “she saved thousands of lives in the UK” she inspired a standard of paramedic practice to a whole generation of Paramedics she will be greatly missed