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Ambulance with back door cot lift?

Do you feel that a cot lift would be helpful?  

39 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • 1. Yes
      29
    • 2. No
      10


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They are oftern different and I have only used a ramp. However the trollys that are used with the tail lifts are not specfic, for example if memory serves me correctly all the London ambulance service ambulances with tail lifts use the normal ferno trollys all be it with a foot pump rather than a manuel lift. some of the tail lifts I have seen you can stand next to the patient.

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there are lots of US ambulance with rear lifts on them but most are ordered by hospitals that typically run critical care or neonatal transports involving heavy cots, isolettes, etc. Some of those only send a single EMT with the nursing staff so there is really no way to adequately lift or roll a normal cot into the rear of the vehicle.

The most common lift is made by a firm called Mac-Lift in California. They make a wide range of lifts for ambulances that be specifically ordered in either a two or three section style to handle wheelchairs, isolettes, or full adult cots. They also make a higher rated capacity version for bariatric transports. Some brands and makes of cots do seem to work better with this lift when it comes to clearance issues with the front of the cot. However, all cots must still be lowered to the ground (retracted frame) before they should be placed on the lift. Otherwise, the cot becomes wobbly when the lift is raised and there can also be clearance issues with the ambulance door header if the cot is in the raised position (and maybe if the backrest is also raised.) So someone (actually two) have to still lower the cot to the ground first before it can be placed on the lift for loading into the ambulance. And the reverse is also true when unloading unless you like to stay hunched over trying to pull a cot in the full low position around a hospital (like what used to be depicted on the TV show EMERGENCY when the "ambulance attendants" did the low crawl dragging the litter and patient into the ER hallway!

The biggest issues with this lift are its cost of around $7-9 thousand installed. It also must be custom-built to accomodate the exact chassis (and not all chassis are capable of accomodating this lift) it will be installed on (and the ambulance manufacturer must make certain allowances in the design of the rear of the ambulance to get it to operate correctly.) There is a back-up hydraulic hand-pump that must also be located in an exterior compartment conveniently close to the rear of the vehicle. The lift assembly is also heavy and it can overload some vehicles so it is not really practical for Type II van ambulances. Finally, the lift must be manually deployed (pulled out of its cradle and any sections unfolded) and stowed which can be difficult for those who don't have much hand strength. If one were to do this several times a shift, they might get tired of it quickly.

The lift design where it is actually part of the rear door assembly is intriguing. However, there are few manufacturers of ambulances that will be willing (if at all) to invest the time and effort for what would be a low-volume option that would require crash testing and endure all kinds of other tests for a relative handful of orders. I've read where the lifts on some European ambulances are actually mandated by the Medic's Union contract so that is really a no brainer for the ambulance manufacturer since he has a steady repeat market for that product so they can invest the resources in developing the product.

It would be nice to hear from some folks from across the pond who have actually used that style of lift and tell us the pros/cons of it. Everything looks nice at a trade show, magazine article, or web site but it's much better to actually hear from those who have had hands-on experience with the product.

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Thanks Dale. I am gathering ideas for next ambulance and everyones input is appreciated.

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Thanks Dale. I am gathering ideas for next ambulance and everyones input is appreciated.

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However, all cots must still be lowered to the ground (retracted frame) before they should be placed on the lift. Otherwise, the cot becomes wobbly when the lift is raised and there can also be clearance issues with the ambulance door header if the cot is in the raised position (and maybe if the backrest is also raised.) So someone (actually two) have to still lower the cot to the ground first before it can be placed on the lift for loading into the ambulance. And the reverse is also true when unloading unless you like to stay hunched over trying to pull a cot in the full low position around a hospital (like what used to be depicted on the TV show EMERGENCY when the "ambulance attendants" did the low crawl dragging the litter and patient into the ER hallway!

Dale,

I agree with your post except for this part. One does not have to lower the stretcher to the ground and then raise the lift. I have used them many times. We either used the handles provided ( there is a picture of this on this thread somewhere ), or we load the stretcher on the lift as if we were going to load it on a regular ambulance. Put the head end on the lift, have your partner grab the wheels and collapse them. Then push the stretcher into the ambulance. Conversely, when unloading, extend the lift, roll the stretcher onto it, then extend the wheels, and Bob's your uncle, roll into the facility like a regular stretcher.

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Why, of course, you can do what you have described. But if I understand your method correctly, does that not still require someone to hold one end of the cot and all of its load while the frame is either being deployed or stowed by your partner? Are you using the deployed end of the lift as an extension of the ambulance floor for the head end of the cot (and wheels) to rest on? If I visualize this correctly, then why have the lift involved with the cot at all since you can now simply roll the cot in and out of the vehicle as it is designed to do (not the older #30 cots which still require two strong backs to lift it into the vehicle.) Forgive me but I am getting old and sometimes do require a picture if I am not conceptualizing this as you intended.

Also, if anyone attempts to use the lift in conjunction with the cot in anything but its lowest position, that procedure goes against the safety recommendations of both the cot manufacturers and the lift manufacturer. These folks publish all kinds of safety and use guidelines and warnings in their customer manuals since they are routinely dragged into legal actions involving their products and their use (both safe or unsafe.)

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Dale,

Forgive me if I didn't make myself clear. We will put the head end on the lift, raise the lift enough to take the weight off and then lift the wheels. Don't forget, once the head is on the lift, the majority of the weight is supported. Raising the wheels and pushing the stretcher on to the ambulance is the only thing left to do.

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Where I work, every Emergency Ambulance is equipped with a lift. They are excellent!

amblift.jpg

Door on one side, lift on the other.

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Thanks other Phil. The companys in the USA just don't see the need. Even with pics I've sent, doesn't look like we'll get it here for a long time. Wish we had one.

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