Sprinter Ambulance

Iím sitting in a new Sprinter ambulance — one of those tall thin ambulances that have been popping up in the last couple years. We have just one in our Fleet and this is the first time I’ve been in it. This morning when my partner and I checked under the hood as part of our checklist, we found the radiator was bone dry. Hooray for checklists! Unfortunately, the city was going nuts and we needed to get out on the road so the supervisor tossed us the keys to the Sprinter and I grabbed my gear out of the now off-line regular ambulance and put it in the open side door of the Sprinter, shut it and then we took off for the priority one call that turned out to be a routine sick call.

When we pulled up, we both jumped out and did near identical tumbles as the Sprinter is much higher up than a regular ambulance and you need to account for that when disembarking. We were lucky it was just a routine call as neither of us could immediately figure out how to get the side and back doors open. You learn something new everyday. I know now that the best way to mount the new beast is to step up with your right foot, grab hold of the hook above the door and pull yourself up and across into your seat.

There are some nice things about the Sprinter Ė I love the panoramic vista of the large windows. And standing up in the back was a great experience, very easy to get the controlled substances out of the lock boxes in the cabinet as well. I have also heard they are safer than the standard ambulance.

The leg room was great, but still by the end of the day, my lower back was hurting from not being able to get the seat at the right angle. The last challenge for the day was finding the gas cap, which I finally found in the doorway behind the diverís seat through a process of simple deduction.

4 Comments

  • Suits says:

    First time poster here, I read your blogs pretty regularly to help “keep my head in the game” as it were, while I bid my time waiting for the ever elusive EMS job. We use the Dodge Sprinters at my job for a PTS company in Ontario and I couldn’t tell you the name of a single soul there who likes them. The seat angle you mention is the biggest disadvantage to us – 12 hours sitting basically vertical is crippling – but the real kicker is the suspension in them is absolutely terrible. Routine drives through the city send our patients through the roof in agony when every slight bump or crack we hit feels like a foot deep pothole. Train tracks are like falling into the Grand Canyon if taken faster than a creeping speed. It’s pretty shameful when the hospitals standard procedure is to administer an analgesic to long-distance transfer patients before leaving. Hopefully yours ride a little better than ours for the patients sake.

  • B says:

    Ah yes Suits, but they’re cheaper for the company to operate. Patient and crew comfort costs money.

    It’s simply a matter of how inexpensive they came make your working conditions versus what you’re willing to put up with.

    If you DO quit out of disgust or frustration, they get to hire somebody at bottom step pay to staff their cheap, ill-designed ambulances. Until, in turn, THAT person can’t take it any more. And so on. And thus you have the current EMS pay status.

  • Stephan says:

    Don’t feel too bad on having a hard time finding the gas cap. Took four of us the first time and a call to our dispatcher to figure it out. Up till this point the Sprinters were being fueled by our VSTs.

  • Kevin J. Redmond says:

    I heard a rumor from another medic the other day that Illinois supposedly banned the type II vans due to size limitations, you’ll only be able to buy new Sprinter/Modular type vehicles after Jan 01, 2012. Anyone else hear that rumor ? or is it just that??

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Peter Canning

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  • Comments
    Sandy
    The Ideal Medic
    As a 24 year medic, I finally figured out it wasn't me. Thank you for your article. You can't teach that in any classroom. I have always found that empathy is a great tool. Use it to benefit the patient and teach others what it is all about.
    2015-03-24 22:24:30
    Joseph Eriksen
    The Ideal Medic
    As a 30 year, now retired medic I completely agree. There is nothing wrong with second guessing although one should go with their gut. There are times to be aggressive and times to not. Also humor is one of the most powerful pre-hospital tools in the toolbox although it can't be taught. When appropriate it…
    2015-03-24 19:37:25
    Shawn McCormick
    The Ideal Medic
    I totally agree. To me those make great paramedics. I work as a Operation Supervisor and encourage teamwork/backup whenever the situation calls for it. I encourage feedback from a difficult call my crews responded to. 1) they have the chance to recall the events that took place and they may self evaluate the call. 2)…
    2015-03-24 17:14:14
    Sean Fitch
    The Ideal Medic
    Totally agree Peter, For too long I had the same interpretation and like you now, I would by far take your current description.
    2015-03-24 17:05:33
    tom combs - ER doc/author
    The Ideal Medic
    Twenty-five years as an ER doc in level one trauma centers has me in total agreement. I Interestingly what you say regarding paramedics also, in many ways, applies to ER docs. "Tries to learn from each call...puts the patient first." A great post. I salute to your wisdom!
    2015-03-24 17:04:06

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