You might not realize it, but ambulances have changed a lot since their inception. They’ve evolved from carts pulled by horses and wagons to cars with flashing lights and sirens. The way we respond to medical emergencies has changed too. Rather than transporting our patients to hospitals that resemble medieval institutions with bleeding patients lying on dirt floors, we’re now able to bring them directly into emergency rooms with specialists waiting for them.
There Were Two Early Types of Ambulances
Ambulances were horse-drawn vehicles and were used to transport people from the battlefield to the hospital. The ambulance attendants were called ambulance drivers. They often consisted of soldiers who had been injured in battle but could also be civilians who volunteered their time as ambulance drivers.
Ambulances Transported People for 200 Years
If you’ve ever wondered how ambulances came to be, this is the perfect place to start. Ambulances have been around for over 200 years, but it took them until the 18th century to gain popularity. They were first used to transport people who were sick or needed medical help. They didn’t start saving lives until a couple of generations later.
Air ambulance is a term that was first used in the 1920s. The first air medical transport service was developed for the use of the US military during World War I. Air ambulances are typically used to transport patients who require urgent medical care to hospitals or other medical facilities.
Ambulance Attendants Didn’t Always Ride in the Back
At first, ambulance attendants were in the front of the vehicle. But as technology and patient care improved, they began riding in the back.
Why? Well, it was because of how ambulances had changed over time. Not only did they look different, but they also came equipped with more modern technologies. This made them safer to drive and easier to operate than horse-drawn carriages. Ambulance attendants also helped with some non-medical tasks. For instance, if a patient needed to be transported from one location to another by stretcher or wheelchair (which was common), then an ambulance attendant would help lift them into their seatbelt or onto their wheelchair.
The First Documented Ambulance Was a Wagon
The first documented ambulance was a wagon. It was invented in 1794 by Dr. John Bostwick and used during the War of 1812 to transport wounded soldiers from battlefields onto wagons and then to hospitals. In those days, ambulances were usually horse-drawn carriages with two seats facing each other and a bench on which patients could lie down. The driver would drive the wagon with one hand while using the other hand to carry out any medical procedures needed during transport (like applying tourniquets). Often, these carriages had red crosses painted or sewn on their sides so that soldiers knew where they should be taken when injured.
The First Motorized Ambulance
The first motorized ambulance was an invention from France. It was invented by Dr. Albert Neff, a French doctor who created the vehicle in 1913 and called it the “Automobile Sanitaire.” This vehicle had a steam engine, which could reach speeds up to 60 km/h (37 mph). And it was intended for transporting wounded soldiers during World War I. In 1865, the first recorded hospital-based ambulance service was headquartered at Commercial Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.
A Color on Everyone’s Car Can Make the Difference
Ambulances come in a variety of colors, but there’s one that stands out, and it’s not red. While this may be a surprise to some, it shouldn’t be because it was designed to save lives, so naturally, it would be the most important color.
Now that we’ve got your attention, we’ll tell you about this special color. It’s blue! This is by far the best color for an ambulance because when people see a blue vehicle coming towards them at high speeds with lights flashing and sirens blaring, they know exactly what it means. The only other acceptable ambulance color is white.
In the 1970s, there were significant improvements in ambulance design. High-topped car-based ambulances were created, but van chassis had to be utilized instead since car chassis could not support the weight and other requirements of the new regulations.
The 1960s Were a Decade of Innovation for Ambulances
The 1960s were a decade of innovation for ambulances, but it started with a tragedy.
On November 22nd, 1963, at 12:30 PM Central Standard Time, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in an open limousine through Dallas’ Dealey Plaza. The ambulance service in Dallas was not prepared for the number of people who needed transportation from the plaza to Parkland Hospital. It took nearly an hour to transport President Kennedy’s body as well as Governor Connally’s body. Vice-President Lyndon B Johnson (who had also been injured during the shooting) and other injured bystanders after being taken out of their vehicles on stretchers and carried over 100 yards by police officers.
The incident prompted medical researchers and engineers to implement new tech innovations in ambulances.
One of the latest major innovations in ambulances is the integration GPS. This system allows drivers to find their destinations faster and more easily, which can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. It also helps ambulance drivers avoid traffic jams, so they can get where they need to go even faster.
GPS can even help ambulance drivers find the closest hospital if necessary, which means that patients will receive proper treatment sooner than ever before!
Ambulance Services Are Big Businesses, but They Have One Major Problem
Ambulance services are expensive to run. They’re expensive to buy and maintain, too.
Ambulance service providers have one major problem. The cost of doing business. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that ambulances cost around £8 billion per year. That’s almost $10 billion US dollars! And this figure doesn’t even include costs like salaries and equipment purchases. It only takes into account maintenance costs associated with running an efficient service.
Modern Trauma Centers Are Nothing Like 19th-Century Hospitals
A 19th-century hospital was a very different place from a modern-day trauma center. There were no X-rays or CT scans, and treatment consisted of administering opioids and blood transfusions to dull pain. A doctor might operate on a patient without the use of any anesthetic other than alcohol, which was often combined with turpentine or chloroform for additional medicinal effect. As you can imagine, this was not an ideal situation for patients with serious injuries who needed to be operated on quickly.
Modern trauma centers are much better equipped than 19th-century hospitals ever could have been. They’ve got top-of-the-line equipment (including CT scanners) that allow doctors to immediately diagnose internal bleeding or broken bones. Specialists such as plastic surgeons and orthopedic surgeons are at the ready should someone need surgery. And all staff members receive extensive training in emergency medicine, so they know how best to treat any given injury or illness as quickly as possible.
Where You Transport People to Has Changed
We bet you didn’t know that the places that ambulances take people to have changed as much as how we transport them.
In the early days of ambulances, they took patients to hospitals. Hospitals are still a great place to go if you have a minor injury, but if you’re in serious trouble and need immediate care, it’s time to get into an ambulance ASAP. For doctors and nurses at a hospital to treat someone who has had an accident or been injured in some way, there needs to be something called a “trauma center” nearby where they can send their patients for special treatment.
Trauma centers specialize in treating serious injuries. They have staff members who are specially trained in critical care medicine so that they can provide life-saving care when it is needed most. This is why these centers are also known as “Level I” hospitals.
If there’s one thing that can be said about ambulances, it’s that they have come a long way since their beginnings as simple wagons. The history of ambulances is so fascinating that we recommend reading more about it online if you want to learn more!