An ambulance is a vehicle used to carry patients from one point to another. The word ambulance was derived from the Latin word “ambulare” which means to “walk” referring to the early form of “medical care”. Patients back then were transported by “lifting” and “wheeling”. Patients were then cared for while traveling.
In modern days, the ambulance service has undergone a series of developments in the training of the ambulance crew to provide better care for patients on the road. Even the vehicle itself has been equipped with a mobile clinic that serves as a workplace to assist paramedics in tending to the patients while they are being transported. A modern ambulance crew is composed of a two-man team that consists of an “emergency care assistant” and a “paramedic”. Ambulance crews are provided with the best training available for pre-hospital care. An ambulance service covers emergencies from car accidents to a cardiac arrest. Standard ambulance equipment includes oxygen, defibrillators for the heart, intravenous drips, traction splints, spinal splints and different drugs for traumatic and medical emergencies.
Ambulance crews need to be well skilled to be able to apply primary treatment and make sure that patients are stable before they start moving the patient to the nearest hospital in the quickest time possible. Quick and decisive thinking is part of a well-trained ambulance crew’s skill while providing both the patients and their relatives a calm explanation of the situation in order to reassurance that they are safe.
Soon it will be possible for ambulance crews to conduct diagnostic tests and provide interpretations that are more accurate even in the home or in remote areas. In addition they will also be able to admit patients to “units with assigned specialists” and be able to prescribe more medications.
The jobs of emergency care assistants and paramedics are very demanding and vary depending on the situation. When responding to a situation, an ambulance crew usually has little knowledge of how severe an emergency may be. Scenarios may be as simple as first aid treatment of minor injuries up to serious accidents with many casualties involved. A day’s work for an ambulance crew may involve treating patients in an ambulance, on “air ambulances” and even on motorcycles.
To be able to give a better assessment of an injury and be able to gain better examination techniques to give treatment to both minor injuries and illnesses, a paramedic may take an extended training course to become an ECP or emergency care practitioners. Paramedics who have gone through this training are considered highly skilled. Once a paramedic gains ECP status he becomes qualified to manage long term conditions.
Ambulance services are not restricted to emergency cases only. They can also be used for non-emergency purposes. This is called “PTS” or “Patient Transport Service”. This part of the ambulance service provides transport for out-patients, disabled patients, routine discharge and admission, and inter-hospital transfers that are not urgent.