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3rd October 1918
Page 8
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Use of the Motor Ambulance for Civilian Needs.

With the advent of peace there is every prospect that a re-organization of the civilian hospital arrangements in this country will be witnessed, and with that development will certainly came an improvement in the methods of transport of sick and injured persons. The war has shown how efficiently and quickly wounded and sick men can be trans. ported by motor vehicles and though before the war the larger hospitals of our big cities were equipped. with motor ambulances this form of transport had not by an means received the attention

it should have done. • Yet the motor vehicle constitutes an ideal means of transport. In the case of accidents the rapid .removal to a wellequipped hospital so soon as the preliminary attention has been given has doubtless saved hundreds of lives. For rapid , despatch. to the scene of an accident a motor vehicle forms an ideal medium, and when the skill of the modern body-builder is brought into

play in the building of an ambulance according to modern surgical requirements the journey back to hospital can be made with the least inconvenience to the patient. In cases of sickness the condition of a patient is generally serious before it is decided to admit to hospital, so meagre being the hospital accommodation, of this country. Yet oftentimes the most makeshift arrangements are adopted for the carriage of the patient from the sick bed at home to the sick ward. The ordinary cab or cloiled motorcar rarelyprovides a comfortable position for a sick or injured person, and in the cases of many injuries and diseases the sitting position necessarily adopted in such vehicles is dangerous and harmful. The narrow side doors are also extremfdy awkward for the lifting and carrying a a person who is unable to assist himself.

Nothing will compare with a specially equipped vehicle built to the specifications of one who has paid close attention to the matter. The care with which a patient can bc zemoved by means of a


properly-designed ambulance cannot be imagined by anyone who has been accustomed to removals by means of ordinary passenger cars. The condition of the patient makes little difference when he, or she, is placed upon a stretcher, and it is only with a motor ambulance van that a stretcher can be used. The precise arrangements which are necessary in the interior depend upon the number of stretchers it is proposed to carry, and whereas in the case of an infirmary or similar institution where the ambulance might be called out to accidents affecting a number of persons four stretchers must almost of necessity be provided for but where private ambulances are being equipped two stretchers need only be provided. Two stretZhers are, however, as easily provided as one, being placed one over the other. The arrangement of four stretchers, with a gangway between each pair to enable attention to be given by an orderly or nurse, means a vehicle of more than ordinary width, however,

but in many temporary war-time conversions the arrangement of provisions for the orderly to move comfortably between the stretchers, when the van is travelling, has been neglected, in spite of the fact that a 'patient might, and often does, need attention after the journey has been commenced.

The release of suitable vehicles from military use will probably provide sufficient ambulances to meet all hospital requirements after the war, but nevertheless there • will be opportunities pre. sented for private enterprise in ambulance work. In comparatively few cases will the expense of providing a vehicle solely for ambulance work be justified, but for a private concern a vehicle which will take an ambulance body will prove a profitable investment in a town of moderate size. By the removal of patients to their home in case of sudden illness, the carriage of infirm people, the removal to nursing homes, and the hundred-and-one other incidents which arise the moderate expense of a convertible body will be justified. For

the driver a knowledge of first aid will be useful and this can be easily obtained at one of the centres arranged by the St. John Ambulance Association, while announcements sent to works as to where the ambulance is available in cases of accident will generally be posted in a suitable place near a telephone, and if suitably worded will also bring a fair share of other passenger traffic. Consequently enterprise in one direction will bring its reward in another department. Particularly in health resorts will such a conversion prove profitable, for there removal cases either to the stations or to the homes of the patients in towns some distapce away are always numerous.

The accompanying illustrations show a Dennis and a Star ambulance in civilian use. The former was subscribed for byBlackpool tradesmen in 1915, and the latter purchased by the Keighley and Bingley Joint Hospital Board in 1910. After seeing much service in the

conveyance of infectious cases, often from outlying districts and almost inaccessible farms, the ambulance was taken Over by the military authorities, together with the rest of the hospital equipment in 1915, and since that date the vehicle has been used for all kinds of work which presents itself at a busy military base hospital.

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