RESUSCITATION COUNCIL: 1988-2018
Leo L Bossaert,
Douglas A Chamberlain, Jerry Nolan
The 13th of December
is a most memorable date.
Exactly 30 years
ago, on the 13th of December 1988, 20 representatives
from 13 European countries and from relevant disciplines were invited to Antwerp
where they founded the European Resuscitation Council. Some of these initial
pioneers are still active, some are no longer with us (they were Douglas
Chamberlain, Leo Bossaert, Lars Mogensen, Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe, Paul Hugenholtz,
Stig Holmberg, John Camm, Peter Baskett, Herman Delooz, Erik Edgren, Tom Evans,
Neville Hart, Rudolph Juchems, Andrew Marsden, Arsene Mullie, Erik Sandoe,
Daniel Scheidegger, David Zideman, Cameron Moffat, and Narciso Perales).
These 20 pioneers
were appointed as the Steering Committee with Douglas Chamberlain as temporary
Chairman and Leo Bossaert as temporary Secretary until official elections could
were set as follows: ‘To save human life by improving standards
of resuscitation in Europe, and by coordinating the activities of European
organisations with a legitimate interest in cardiopulmonary resuscitation’.
In August 1989 the
first formal Executive Committee meeting took place. Peter Baskett was elected
as the first Chairman, Stig Holmberg as Vice-chairman, Daniel Scheidegger as
Honorary Treasurer, and Leo Bossaert as Honorary Secretary. The first statutes
were approved in June 1990 at the first General Assembly in Amsterdam. Peter Baskett was succeeded as chairperson by
Wolfgang Dick. Later chairpersons were Pierre Carli, Petter Andreas Steen,
David Zideman, Bernd Boettiger, Maaret Castren, and now Jerry Nolan.
celebrating the 25th anniversary of ERC, Douglas Chamberlain and Leo Bossaert
published a comprehensive overview in Resuscitation
(Bossaert LB, Chamberlain D. The European Resuscotation Council: Its
History and Development. Resuscitation 2013;84:1291–94).
historical overview, the ERC continued growing as a network of volunteers and
National Resuscitation Councils (NRCs), supported by a strong office directed
by its Chief Executive Officer. Much progress was made during these 5 years.
The fundamental pillars
(Science, Guidelines and Courses) were further developed and strengthened into
a modern structure. The numerous working groups, taskforces, and committees
were simplified in a matrix structure with four Science & Education
Committees (ALS, BLS, PLS, NLS), three Developing Committees (Education,
Guidelines, Research) and five Supporting Committees (Finance, Governance,
Congress, GPC, Editorial Board). Their remit and structure are defined in the updated
2018 Articles of Association and Internal Rules. The objectives of the ERC have
remained unchanged throughout the years: “To preserve human life by making high
quality resuscitation available to all”. The Office and Staff moved to their own
modern Office building: the ERC House in Niel, Belgium. In 2018, the CEO, Bart
Vissers, left the ERC and a new CEO will soon be appointed.
The network of
volunteers and 33 NRCs have proved to be a fertile soil for promoting scientific
excellence: ERC scientists have a leading role in the taskforces of ILCOR; the
journal Resuscitation has the highest Impact Factor in the Emergency Medicine
category; the Research Network has facilitated multinational projects resulting
in top ranked publications such as the EuReCa studies; the new Newsletter
informs the 950 full members and the more than 135000 corresponding members.
congresses were organised in Krakow in
2013, followed by Bilbao, Prague, Reykjavik, Freiburg, Bologna in 2018, to be
followed by Ljubljana in 2019, and Manchester in 2020.
The ERC Guidelines 2015 were based on the ILCOR Consensus
on Resuscitation Science and Treatment Recommendations, and were presented at
the ERC Congress in Prague. The 2020 Guidelines will be launched in Manchester.
The ERC was instrumental in a ‘Written Declaration on Cardiac Arrest’ published
by the European Parliament that resulted in the creation of a European Cardiac
Arrest Awareness Day (later re-named European
Restart a Heart Day) on the 16th of October. The first ERHD in 2013 generated numerous
educational and promotional activities that included school children. In 2018, the
ILCOR and the international community joined this initiative in the World
Restart a Heart Day (WRAH) .
continue to be guided by uniformity and quality and are organised in 33 countries, including many in North
Africa and the Middle East. These efforts result in the production of more than
16000 courses and 120000 certificates annually. Manuals are continually updated
and translated into 30 languages whilst e-learning materials are integrated in
a modern “blended learning” concept.This complexity of courses, instructors, educators,
translations, updates, delivery of manuals and certificates is managed by the
new CoSy (Course Organising System) that became operational in 2016.
30 years ago, the
ERC was created by a group of friends. Many of the current successes and
achievements are still facilitated by this personal approach and by individual
members who are driven by a common passion and commitment. This initial
structure was gradually transformed into a professional organisation based on
the modern principles of good governance, but with respect for the immense
wealth of the European diversity, with the sole common objective ‘To
preserve life by making high quality resuscitation available to all’.