Providing better care

University Hospital’s new ambulances feature more space, style and comfort
Monday, May 10, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:55 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

A ride in an ambulance wasn’t always loud with sirens, stocked with all kinds of medical equipment, and big enough to seat more than two people. One of the first ambulances known in Missouri was a Volkswagen van. Its primitive technology included an incubator that received power from the cigarette lighter. But ambulances have grown bigger and safer since then, and University Hospital has two new ones that show exactly how far they have come.

The new ambulances were designed by a committee of paramedics and emergency medical technicians to be more functional and spacious for both the medical crew and the patients.

The stainless-steel trucks essentially came as shells, at $96,000 each. Brighter lights and reflective black and gold exterior paint ensure that you won’t miss these trucks. Doors on the outside of the trucks conceal equipment such as backboards and neck braces.


University Hospital’s two new ambulances display the black and gold of MU. “The next step is a Tiger on the side,” said Chad Staley, an emergency medical technician. (JULIA SEIBEL/Missourian)

To a patient inside the ambulance, the biggest difference is the amount of space available. Windows line the front of the cabinets to show supplies for easy access, and one cabinet stores any linens and blankets that might be needed. Among the additional purchases required to stock each truck are a $22,000 heart monitor and $1,000 in other medical supplies. The total cost for each new ambulance is $127,950.

The new ambulances were designed to help patients with more than their health. A child seat is integrated into the back of a paramedic’s seat so a child with a patient can be buckled in. And for babies who arrive on the way to the hospital, there’s a counter top that can be used as a heating table to warm newborns.

The two new ambulances brought the University Hospital fleet from five to seven. The need for these additions came after an increase in dispatched emergency calls and also an increase in calls during times of bad weather and other unforeseen factors.

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