In the early 1970s, the pre-hospital medical care system was very different from how we know it today. Ambulances were little more than “vans” adapted to transport patients suffering from illness or involved in road accidents.
Rescue procedures were basic operations performed without the aid of any device and the only equipment available to rescuers were an oxygen cylinder and the stretcher, an evolution from the military world. There was still no real “medical room” and almost no safety or comfort for the patient.
The lack of coordination, as well as of investments in the industry, meant that even the operators, mostly volunteers, were stretcher-bearer, often without any basic notion of first aid.
Stem’s vocation for innovation in medical transport
In 1986 Stem Technology, a company from Collecchio, in the province of Parma, led by Ezio Menna starts soon to boost the development of technologies for ambulance transport.
After 20 years as a volunteer at Collecchio public ambulance service, Ezio knows all the shortcomings in emergency transport and decides to combine his passion for mechanics with the vocation for rescue.
So in 1988, after the first prototypes, there come the first Stem Technology shock-absorbing stretcher support C4 and the first electric step for professional use GE-1.
The design philosophy by Stem Technology will influence the construction methods of ambulances and also the idea of rescue and medical transport.
While Italy is taking its first steps towards the evolution of rescue, Stem begins to be known thanks to its stretcher-supports supplied to French Sapeur Pompiers and to German and Spanish ambulance builders.
The technical-scientific revolution in ambulance fittings
As for cars, there was no obligation to use seat belts even in the ambulance, nor the obligation to have crash tests to certify that the devices are firmly installed inside the vehicle. In the 1990s, the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) with the creation of the CEN / TC 239 work group, began to draw up a European standard on the safety of emergency vehicles and medical devices. Joining the CEN, Stem Technology contributes once again, especially for the standard on stretcher supports, to ensure a high level of quality and safety that were not considered until that moment.
With the establishment of the 118 service in 1992, ambulances change also in Italy. Together with the development of a system made of rescuers who are more trained and specialized, there are some new devices on the market that will change the ambulances. From self-loading stretchers to defibrillator monitors, the medical compartment begins to assume the current configuration and the stretcher support plays a fundamental role.
The Stem shock-absorbing stretcher supports are able to absorb the shocks and vibrations that occur during transport and that normally affect the patient, worsening clinical conditions.
In this real technical-scientific revolution, Stem Technology plays a role of primary importance through the implementation of dedicated projects aimed at innovating the equipment of emergency vehicles.
The quality of transport for patient’s safety and comfort
Stem Technology and its team of engineers work to spread the idea that a quality transport starts from the patient’s house or from the road, continues during the transfer and ends at the Emergency.
The company in Emilia-Romagna focuses its ideas on the transfer phase, aimed at ensuring the integrity, safety and comfort of the patient on board, what makes Stem known all over the world. In particular, today Stem has focused more on research and development of solutions for sanitization and biocontainment transport.
In the coming ten years we will likely see further developments in the technological level of medical equipment.
Ambulances will be like small intervention units located in the area, its equipment will make it possible to offer a service almost similar to that of the hospital in terms of diagnostics and first aid.
The basic principles that have governed the local emergency and rescue service for years will remain the same and this is what Stem has invested on for over 35 years, in order to speak today about ambulances and no longer “vans for medical transport”.