The more things change, the more they stay the same

“Ambler Ambulance” has a long history of serving the community – 2018 is the 77th year since our founding, and I recently found myself marveling at some old photos in our archives. It was a shock to my HIPAA*-sensibilities to see photos taken at accident scenes from the 1960’s. Today’s patient protections ensure that a patient’s identity and medical information is protected in ways that couldn’t be conceived of in the 1960’s. Here are some photos of equipment and vehicles – the registration tags on the license plates indicate these vehicles and equipment are from the late ’60’s.

  

More than 50 years have passed since these photos were taken, and today’s ambulance, stretcher and equipment are far more technologically advanced. Compare the rotary phone to today’s iPhone and you’ll get an idea of the jumps that have been made in EMS equipment and technology.

Today, a Paramedic has the ability actively monitor and transmit EKG readings to the hospital. Today’s stretchers include a power-lift – providing greater patient security as they are transported from the emergency scene to a hospital for treatment.

Also found in the archives was an old brochure listing services and membership benefits. The President’s message reads, in part:

“…you can expect, and get, an ambulance promptly dispatched and equipped with more than the usual complement of facilities. Second, you will get a crew (driver, nurse or attendant), courteous, concerned and skilled through intensive training and experience in handling emergency situations. Third, enroute the patient’s comfort both mental and physical, is of major concern to the crew.” 

And this made me think – for all the changes in equipment, mandated training, technology, etc – the heart of our work stays the same – providing a professional and compassionate crew to quickly and safely treat and transport patients from the scene of an emergency to a hospital for continued treatment and care.

Our EMT’s and Paramedics may have different, more advanced equipment, but their mission remains the same: providing excellence in pre-hospital emergency care to the communities we serve.

( *HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is  legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information – you probably sign a release about this at your doctor’s office, and our crews provide this information as well)