With overworked NHS ambulance crews enduring 15-hour shifts and ambulances in Wales now restricted to attending three types of emergency (choking, cardiac arrest and pregnancy), we have explored the role of the ambulance throughout history.
It might seem impossible for us to believe with our modern day reliance on ambulance services, but it wasn’t so long ago that doctors still came and visited their patients at home.
Medical transportation methods have been around since ancient times, however they haven’t always been that that fast. The concept of the ambulance first came about on the battlefield, as a means of removing injured soldiers from the line of fire. Chariots were used by the early Greeks and the Romans to move wounded away from more danger, however, in the 9th Century the less effective method of hammocks suspended between two wagons was introduced. The safe transport of an invalid passenger relied on both hammocks keeping the same slow, steady pace, especially down hills and around corners. The horse litter, devised in the 11th Century, used a similarly ineffective method.
The word ‘ambulance’ was first coined in the 14th Century from the Latin word ‘ambulare’ – ‘to move about’. These early ambulances were first used in Spain and were not transport methods, but medical tents that could be erected a safe distance away from the fighting. Solders would not have be transported to these ‘pop-up’ field hospitals until after a battle, which could last several days.
It was not until Dominique Jean Larrey, the famous French Napoleonic military surgeon, that the ambulance (in cart form) was used as fast and effective way of saving army lives. Larrey realised that men stood a better chance of survival if they received medical attention immediately. Another great advancement in the development of the ambulance came with the work of Jonathan Letterman, who came up with the notion of the army doctor or field medic during the American Civil War, and created the U.S. Ambulance Corps act.
It was former military servicemen that fought for an extension of the military ambulance service to serve a public need. This service ultimately replaced the doctor who made house calls with his little black bag. In 1895, Cincinati, Ohio was the first city to a hospital-based ambulance service.
Future Oxbridge Historians might gain from exploring the history of Medicine and medical practices. ‘Wannabe’ Medics could benefit from exploring if our health service is now regressing and how the NHS will be impacted by a severely reduced ambulance service.
- Taking a Gap Year There are a number of advantages to taking a gap... Read more >
- Maths Puzzle: The Age of Census A census-taker knocks on a door, and asks the woman... Read more >
- Pooling: Fast Facts You may have heard people talk about “pooling”, or maybe... Read more >
- Download a Law Personal Statement “Participating in a Citizenship Foundation Mock Trial Competition during Year... Read more >
- International Application Calendar Keeping on top of the various deadlines and decisions when... Read more >
- LNAT ‘So you want to go to Oxbridge’ Answers If you have been reading our book ‘So you want... Read more >
- English: answer like a pro We have a lot of questions year on year from... Read more >
- Information on choosing a course at Oxford or Cambridge “Perhaps it is because Oxbridge encourages more ‘traditional’ A Level... Read more >
- ELAT overview If you’re applying for English, or its joint schools, you... Read more >
- Oxford college snapshots With 35 colleges and Permanent Private Halls, choosing how to... Read more >
- Interactive Interview Exercise Manual ‘What should I expect at my Oxbridge interview?’ ‘How will... Read more >
- Science Puzzle: experimenting with mice… We asked our Medicine graduate Jennifer to tell us a... Read more >
- Philosophy Reading List If you are interested in Philosophy, there are several options... Read more >
- MLAT overview If you’re applying for Modern Languages, or their joint schools, you... Read more >
- Social and Political Sciences Reading List We’ve brought together a wide-ranging bibliography to help those applying... Read more >
- Communications expert top tips One of our communications specialists, has his own advice for... Read more >
- Statistics: 2015 Annual Survey Want to find out what your chances are of getting... Read more >
- TSA Cambridge Example Questions and Answers If you have completed the TSA Cambridge course report and are... Read more >
- Law Reading List Cambridge Law and Oxford Law reading lists and recommended reading. Read more >
- 5 Easy Ways To Support Your Son Or Daughter Before Their Oxbridge Interviews The weeks before the Oxford and Cambridge interviews are a... Read more >
- MLAT mini mock paper & answers The MLAT or Modern Languages Test is required by Oxford... Read more >
- 20 Real-Life Oxford and Cambridge Interview Questions The Oxford and Cambridge interviews are notorious for having academically... Read more >
- College selection checklist Your college at Oxford or Cambridge is where you will... Read more >
- Download a Medicine Personal Statement 2 “Further work experience has highlighted some of the demands and challenges... Read more >