Daimler Buses converts an inter-city bus into a special vehicle at its plant in Neu-Ulm to transfer the COVID-19 patients. The Mercedes-Benz Citaro, now the largest intensive care ambulance in Germany, is to be used by DRK-Rettungsdienst Heidenheim-Ulm gGmbH (German Red Cross Emergency Medical Services Heidenheim-Ulm). The vehicle is a loan; initially it will be available to the German Red Cross (DRK) for a period of six months. The joint project is supported by the University Hospital in Ulm which is providing the specialized medical staff. SWU Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu-Ulm GmbH (public utility company) is also on board the project and is providing drivers and maintenance personnel.
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro built in 2019 as an inter-city bus with 45 seats and standing room for 40 persons is equipped with four complete intensive care beds for its new function. Thanks to the repurposed bus, the German Red Cross in Ulm can react fast and transport intensive care patients to other hospitals if necessary. The journeys are supervised by two intensive-care doctors from the University Hospital in Ulm. Three paramedics and two ambulance officers supplied by DRK-Rettungsdienst Heidenheim-Ulm are also on board.
The bus is equipped with four electrohydraulic wheeled stretchers with a loading system, four intensive care ventilators, four monitoring screens, a sonography unit and a blood gas analysis device, for example. The staff from Daimler Buses also created stowage space for sufficient medicines, nursing equipment, additional breathing apparatus and protective clothing. The Mercedes-Benz Citaro has been repurposed so that the patients can be transported in various positions. The side windows of the DRK bus have been laminated for privacy. The bus has also been equipped with a blue light and a siren.
As the bus will focus on transporting COVID-19 patients, hygienic demands played an important role during the conversion. For example, a disinfectant sprayer can be used in the patient compartment once transportation is completed. The area for the driver is separated from the patient compartment by a wall and the ventilation system has been converted. As a result the driver has no contact with patients and is not exposed to any infection. SWU Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu-Ulm is supporting the project by supplying drivers and a depot as well as taking care of technical maintenance.