Dr. Leonard Cobb Changed the Face of Emergency Care

SEATTLE, Feb. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Credited with creating the world’s gold standard for pre-hospital care in the SeattleKing County region, Dr. Leonard Cobb, 96, passed away peacefully on February 14, surrounded by family in his Seattle home.

“Dr. Cobb was one of the greats in emergency medicine,” said Medic One Foundation Board President Brian Webster. “His vision for partnership with fire resources and leadership in a relentless pursuit of excellence through training has established Medic One as the global standard for emergency medical services.”

Because of Dr. Cobb’s vision in 1969 with then Seattle Fire Chief Gordon Vickery, today’s Medic One was born and grew to be the top program in the world for saving the lives of cardiac arrest victims and critically ill patients outside of the hospital. 

During the early days of Seattle Medic One, when grant funding for the program was cut, Dr. Cobb and Chief Vickery began a grass roots fundraising campaign. In a short time, almost $200,000 was raised to support Medic One. In 1974, Dr. Cobb and a group of physicians and community leaders created the non-profit Medic One Foundation. Its mission was to manage fundraising through private and corporate donors and expand the program.

Dr. Cobb served as the president of the Foundation for over 30 years, and continued to participate on the Board of Directors up until his passing. “The Medic One Foundation serves a unique role in helping ensure the quality of care,” said Dr. Cobb, when interviewed for the Medic One 50th Anniversary. “I think, by its nature of being a separate sort of watch dog and involved with the critical aspect of training contributes something, just because it’s not part of a city bureaucracy.”

“Dr. Cobb was a pioneer in the field of out-of-hospital emergency medicine and his work has touched the lives of thousands,” said Medic One Foundation Executive Director, Kim Duncan Martin. “Medic One and the Medic One Foundation have both lost a great leader and friend to whom we owe an enormous debt. We will continue his mission to save more lives for generations to come.”

Dr. Cobb, along with Chief Vickery, also launched Seattle’s Medic II in 1971. Through funding from the Rotary Club of Seattle, citizens were taught to recognize the symptoms of a sudden cardiac arrest, call 911 immediately, and then start CPR while waiting for help. Since then, over 1 million people in the region have learned to help save a life.

“I am so saddened by this news and so grateful to have known Dr. Cobb even a little,” said Cardiac Arrest Survivor and Medic One Foundation Board Member, Heather Kelley. “Without the vision and dedication of Dr. Cobb, I likely would not be alive today.” Kelley collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest during the welcome home celebration for the Seahawks after their Superbowl win in February 2014. Her two daughters called 911 and began CPR as 700,000 Seahawks fans swarmed the area around Lumen Field. When Paramedics arrived, they had to shock Heather’s heart three times before getting a heartbeat. “My near-death experience deepened my sense of gratitude to both Dr. Cobb and the Medic One system. Because of them, I’m able to continue being a Mom to my beautiful and brave daughters.”

Thanks to the foresight of Dr. Cobb, today, Medic One has an international reputation for innovation and excellence in pre-hospital emergency care and the program serves as a model for leaders all over the world who want to create similar programs in their cities.

“Dr. Cobb will be dearly missed, but his legacy will continue through many more lives being saved,” added Duncan Martin.

For more information on Dr. Cobb’s impact, the Medic One Foundation and the Paramedic Training Program visit,

Since its inception more than 50 years ago, Medic One has saved countless lives. Our region’s Medic One system is regarded as the world’s model for saving lives and is able to achieve a survival rate for cardiac arrest that is two to three times higher than other communities in the United States due to more than double the amount of training hours our paramedics receive. The Medic One Foundation is the major supporter of this world-class training program that enables paramedics to provide ER-level care prior to patients reaching the hospital. For more information on the Medic One Foundation, please visit

Media Contact:
Lee Keller
[email protected]

Interviews with Dr. Cobb
Resuscitation Academy Video: 2020 Dr. Eisenberg interviewing Dr. Cobb:

The beginning of the Medic One and Medic One Foundation

Resuscitation Academy Video: Dr. Cobb reflecting on creating a culture of excellence

Cision View original content to download multimedia:

SOURCE Medic One Foundation


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