Health Matters: The Newest Technology in Ambulances

An ambulance is capable of doing just about everything an emergency room can

HEALTH MATTERS — Most people don’t know what an ambulance looks like until they have to ride one.

As technology moves forward, so does the care you can find in an ambulance.

A Detroit Lakes paramedic with Essentia Health St. Mary’s helps us get familiar with the tools in this rescue rig.

In what is often an already scary situation, getting taken to the hospital in an ambulance can add anxiety.

“A lot of people are amazed with what we carry in ambulances now,” said Brian Pollock, a paramedic with Essentia Health St. Mary’s.

Pollock said ambulances are equipped to do everything that can be done in an emergency room, except when it comes to performing surgery.

“I can run IV’s, I can run fluids, give narcotics,” Pollock explained.

If performing those tasks while being on the road worries you, he’s hoping to ease your mind.

“Once you get practice at it, you actually do better when the ambulance is moving, rather than when it’s sitting still,” Pollock said.

He said it’s what happens before the ride that catches a lot of people off guard.

“I ask them if they’ve ever been in an ambulance before,”said Pollock. “If they haven’t, I tell them, ‘it’s going to be weird’!”

Pollock said getting put into the ambulance makes it feel as if you’re floating.

The new technology at Essentia Health St. Mary’s made it a much smoother process.

“This just goes on,” Pollock said as he demonstrated being put in the ambulance. “I can do it all with one hand. One lock is in the front, and one lock is the back, so it does not move.”

The ambulance has room to bring two patients to the hospital, but that would only happen in rare situation.

“This is where the paramedic would sit, the head of the cot comes right up to…right before his knees,” said Pollock.

The emergency vehicle is always stocked to respond to two calls back to back.

“The role of what we do is complete and total patient care,” said Pollock.

Another way this rescue rig helps patients and paramedics is, just like a regular car, the cabin’s temperature can be controlled to ensure comfort while riding.