MU Children's Hospital unveils new ambulance

It was created using funds donated by Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.
The MU Children's Hospital unveiled its new ambulance Tuesday morning with a ribbon cutting. The ambulance is specifically for children and infants.

The MU Women's and Children’s Hospital unveiled a new custom-built ambulance Tuesday, adding to its fleet of emergency response vehicles. The ambulance was specially designed to be used in the transport of children and infants.

The ambulance was designed by John Wood and Dan McGavock, two emergency medical technicians working for the MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital. In a news release written by University of Missouri Health System spokesman Matt Splett, Wood said they improved on conventional designs to make the ambulance safer for both patients and staff alike.

“As far as we know, there is no other ambulance like this in the world,” Wood said in the news release.

The new ambulance differs from traditional emergency response vehicles by featuring side-loading doors as opposed to the standard rear-loading doors, allowing it to easily carry two patients simultaneously. The ambulance also features swivel seats for the crew members that permit them to reach both patients and any supplies they may need without leaving their seats.

McGavock said another of their primary concerns in the ambulance’s design was making it more comfortable for children.

“Everything about the ambulance is supposed to release stress in the kids,” McGavock said.

There is a small TV and DVD player in the vehicle to entertain children on long rides, and the interior of the ambulance is painted with child-oriented designs. McGavock said that one of the best ways to keep children calm in an ambulance is to have parents with them, but in conventional ambulances that is usually impossible.

“Our design is already creating a lot of interest and discussion among other pediatric ambulance providers who see our ambulance as a model for future design,” McGavock said in the news release.

At the unveiling, Keri Simon, executive director of the MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital, thanked Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart representatives for the donations that made the ambulance a reality. According to the release, the ambulance cost $142,000 and was fully funded by fundraising efforts by 12 mid-Missouri Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores, as well as the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Moberly.

Ed Holt, a representative for Wal-Mart, voiced his appreciation of Wal-Mart’s and Sam’s Club’s associates and customers for raising the money. He said the fundraising campaign was incredibly ambitious compared to most other years.

“In the past the most we ever raised was about $50,000,” Holt said.

Women’s and Children’s Hospital doctor John Pardalos said that the new ambulance will be a significant addition to the emergency response team.

“This new ambulance will play a critical role in serving our community,” Pardalos said.

According to the news release, the MU Women's and Children’s Hospital is the largest and most comprehensive pediatric care center in mid-Missouri. It has more than 100 beds and is the only facility in the region that provides services such as neonatal transport, child life therapy and a pediatric intensive care unit.

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