Parkview Huntington Hospital unveils its new tech ambulance

Jeremiah Tucker (right), a paramedic at Parkview Huntington Hospital, demonstrates the power stretcher, featuring an inline track that uses a power lift to load the stretcher into the hospital’s new ambulance, as Emergency Medical Technician Alivia Eiting takes on the role of patient. The ambulance was on display at the front entrance of PHH on Friday, Jan. 11.
Jeremiah Tucker (right), a paramedic at Parkview Huntington Hospital, demonstrates the power stretcher, featuring an inline track that uses a power lift to load the stretcher into the hospital’s new ambulance, as Emergency Medical Technician Alivia Eiting takes on the role of patient. The ambulance was on display at the front entrance of PHH on Friday, Jan. 11. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

A new ambulance that increases safety for both patient and emergency medical service workers is now on the streets, responding to medical emergency calls.

Parkview Huntington Hospital introduced its newest ambulance to its staff and the public on Friday, Jan. 11. Some of Parkview’s emergency medical service professionals worked with the ambulance vendor to design and engineer the new truck, one of the first four in operation in the nation.

Paramedic Jeremiah Tucker explains the ambulance was designed with more safety in mind inside the vehicle while medical responders are treating a patient.

“We’re focused more on what’s protecting us inside the truck,” he says. “There are a lot of accidents that happen where EMS personnel aren’t seat-belted in because they’re providing care. With a lot of the setups you can’t do patient care while you’re seat-belted, so when an accident happens you get tossed into another part of the truck.”

Accidents involving ambulances don’t happen often, but Tucker says when they do occur they are often serious.

Information from Parkview states studies have shown that EMS workers tend to have much higher rates of occupational injuries than workers in other sectors. A significant portion of such injuries tends to be related to patient care and transport in response to 911 calls, as well as neck and back injuries. EMS workers riding unrestrained in the back of an ambulance in order to provide patient care are vulnerable to injury.  

The new ambulance incorporates important safety features including:
 

• Power stretcher has an inline track to secure the stretcher in the ambulance and is loaded by means of a power lift, sparing crew members from having to physically lift the patient and heavy stretcher up into the vehicle. Tucker says the rail system has a 700-pound capacity, and offers more security for the patient. Previously, the patient restraints would not guarantee safety in some types of accidents.

“For the most part, it would keep the cot in place, even in a rollover situation,” he says, “but there were a lot of times that it would not keep the cot in place if the truck rolled over. With this new system, that cot’s not going anywhere. It’s latched into some pretty large bolts.”

• More substantial attendant seat with lap and shoulder restraints to secure the EMS team member in the back of the ambulance while still allowing them to reach both the patient (for assessments and treatment) and the supplies needed to deal with the patient’s injuries or medical condition during transport.

“The attendant seat is in close proximity to the patient,” Tucker says. “We can stay seat-belted and still provide treatment.”

• Stowage and means to secure every piece of equipment weighing three pounds or more, to reduce the potential for injury from unrestrained or flying objects that could be dislodged in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

“Anything over three pounds can be fatal in an accident if it’s not tied down,” Tucker says, using the ambulance’s cardiac monitor as an example.

“Usually, it would just be sitting on the seat or the shelf toward the back of the cot and not secured to anything,” he says. “(The new one) has an aluminum mount that allows it to swivel so we can use it securely.”

The ambulance was purchased in part with funding from the Parkview Huntington Hospital Foundation, Tucker says.