A Facebook exchange sprung up on the 16th about the expression in the title. The initial poster wondered about
the use by TV characters in emergency rooms or restaurant kitchens of “stat!” instead of “now!” I’d never heard it used in real life, nor on TV, before programs I’m seeing now from the past 15 years or so (at a guess). Its unfamiliarity makes it sound artificial, or contrived, to my ear. Hence my curiosity. Where was I when it became a thing?
The poster pretty clearly recognizes that they might be in the grip of the Recency Illusion, the belief that since you’ve noticed some usage only recently, that usage is in fact recent in the language (when it is likely to be considerably older). In any case, the poster’s recollection is of not having experienced the stat of immediacy (as I’ll call it) until about 15 years ago (the beginning of the 21st century), and then only on tv programs set in emergency rooms. (‘Right now’ would be a better gloss than just ‘now’, by the way.) Well, it was around on tv before that (at least 30 years before that, as other posters pointed out), and with reference to medical procedures or actions in real life — the model for the tv use — it was in use way before that, back to the 19th century.