Did you know that the idea of medical transport goes back hundreds of years?
Initially, medical transport was developed as a matter of battlefield necessity. Before motorized options came to the fore, moving wounded soldiers was a tricky proposition. Soldiers requiring care were taken by a litter manned by two compatriots who moved the patient to whatever makeshift field hospital was nearby. It was a dangerous and difficult undertaking that not infrequently resulted in the medics themselves becoming casualties.
Gradually, the use of wheeled carts came into vogue. Around 900 AD for example, it is believed the Anglo Saxons used hammock based carts to move lepers and psyche patients away from the general population. In Spain, around 1476, wagons carrying beds were used to move soldiers requiring medical aid. By the time of the US Civil War, wagon use was a must, though when lacking a wheeled option, sedan chairs, wheelbarrows, barges or anything movable might be employed.
Eventually, ambulance services were developed to transport patients who needed to remain flat during transport. Initially, these individuals usually suffered from some contagion like cholera. Soon enough, however, particularly in Europe, cities began to create their own ambulance services for a variety of patients.
In Canada, and most especially in Manitoba, ambulance services were not largely available to the public until the mid 20th Century. At first, it was not unusual to see funeral directors dabble in prehospital care. By the 1970s, the EMS structure we recognize today was in place.
Medical transport of low acuity patients, however, still had some distance to go. It was, after all, not as much of a necessity since the patient involved had no life threatening condition. A cursory search of the Internet will show that by around 1930, non emergent medical transportation of wheelchair patients, for example, consisted of standard school or transit busses with wooded planks attached to the rear as a steep ramp. Innovation in the 70s and 80s led to the use of standardized vans with longer ramps with less incline. Still mostly rear loading, eventually side loaders also came into action. When the age of the mini-van rolled around, personalized wheelchair transport was born.
Today, Community Paramedics Service Inc. builds on this legacy. We use Dodge Grand Caravans to transport our patients. These comfortable units ride like your own personal vehicle, with a front facing view of the landscape surrounding you. And just like with your own car, you can also invite a family member along for the ride!