Loma Linda University Medical Center unveils new off-road emergency vehicle
The mobile telemedicine vehicle is designed to reach off-road and remote access areas to extend the expertise of Loma Linda University Medical Center’s physicians.
On Friday, April 7, Loma Linda University Medical Center unveiled a state-of-the-art Mobile Telemedicine Vehicle or MTV for disaster and emergency response. A joint effort between the United States Army and the DISCOVERIES project at LLUMC, the MTV is the newest and most innovative vehicle to be used in the field of emergency medicine. The unveiling took place on the Loma Linda University Campus Mall in the center of campus.
Designed to respond to emergency and disaster situations, the MTV brings the expertise of a critical care center to patients that may be cut off from access to any hospital or medical care. By utilizing telemedicine technology, the MTV brings the skill of any specialist to the patient’s side.
“The concept is to take a vehicle that can go anywhere,” says Jeff Grange, MD, director of emergency medical services for LLUMC. “When a disaster happens and infrastructure is destroyed, the MTV is put into action to get to patients who would otherwise be unable to get to the hospital. It is not for transporting patients, but rather taking the expertise of a tertiary care center like Loma Linda to patients themselves.”
The MTV is built by UNIC
B. Lyn Behrens, MBBS, president of Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, and Jeff Grange, MD, director of emergency medical services at Loma Linda University Medical Center, speak at the unveiling event of the mobile telemedicine vehicle on April 7.
AT of Germany on a Mercedes-Benz chassis. The chassis features a design that allows for maximum off-road capabilities. Once at the scene of critical need, the MTV will be able to relay medical information such as x-rays, vital statistics, and live video to LLUMC. Telemedicine allows the health care team in the vehicle to capture information and transfer it to the right specialist for real-time consultation. The MTV uses satellite systems and is not dependent on land-based communications that may go out in a disaster.
For additional flexibility, a Yamaha all-terrain vehicle is housed inside the MTV. It can be deployed to access areas that can only be reached by smaller vehicles. It can also scout the terrain and communicate back to the MTV.
“This is a tangible way to illustrate our roots of compassion ‘to make man whole’ as we move into the future,” said B. Lyn Behrens, MBBS, president of Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, at the unveiling event. “I see this as a place where critically ill patients will receive care, and a prototype for national programs.”
The MTV, when fully fueled, has a range of 1,000 miles or can run its generator for up to four days nonstop. With a clearance of 13 feet, the MTV is set up to be staffed by up to three personnel, representing both the health care and the technological sides of the vehicle’s functionality.
At the end of the unveiling event, Gerald Winslow, PhD, vice president for spiritual life and wholeness for Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, dedicated the MTV through prayer as a way of reaching out to help people in need.
By Preston Clarke Smith