Top Gear S22E3 Comments (Homemade Ambulance Challenge)
Topics: Top Gear
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February 18, 2015
Original Air Date: February 8, 2015
This episode featured three mocked up "fast ambulances," with Richard Hammond in a very American Chevrolet G20, Jeremy Clarkson in a Porsche 944, and James May in a Ford Scorpio Cardinal hearse with a Cosworth engine.
As an American viewer, the hearse was surprising for the size of its windows. Ours just don't put the casket on display like that. This was like the Popemobile of hearses! Also surprising was the Cosworth engine. I get having to haul around extra weight but a Cosworth? I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say it's not in restorable condition after the show, but I hope that engine was saved.
Unfortunately the producers were a bit ham-handed in the inevitable "oops, my patient fell out the back" bit. Really, James didn't hear the dragging a few feet behind him?
It was an interesting contrast to the giant American "Mobile ICU" style of ambulance. Speed (especially the inevitable changes of speed and direction) can be damaging to a sick or injured human being and make working on a patient difficult for the paramedics, as was hilariously demonstrated by Hammond in his surprisingly quick G20 (hell yeah small block Chevy!) on the Top Gear Test Track.
Our concept is the opposite of speed: we accept a reasonable maximum speed and try to work as much medical equipment as budgets allow into that performance limit. The result are ambulances that are friggin' HUGE, built not for speed but for maximizing the amount of patient work that can be done between accident scene and hospital. This requires well trained EMT's who are real medical professionals.
However, if one were to, for some odd reason, need to transport a patient as rapidly as possible to some far off location for some odd reason I can't come up with right now, the Porsche concept was actually pretty decent. Laying the patient out next to the driver from front passenger seat to rear seemed to fit the patient fairly well, to the detriment of Jeremy playing the EMT, who was a bit cramped for space in the back. Special thanks goes to BBC America for choosing to blur and not just cut this funny scene!
In reality, a Subaru Impreza WRX wagon would offer comparatively decent space for a paramedic to insert a catheter without getting too personal with the patient as Jeremy did. (probably not best to watch this episode with small children...)
James' Club Ambulance was not too far off from another concept we have in America. The 45-foot luxury bus based Hangover Heaven is a mobile medical facility plying the streets of a Las Vegas offering "hangover cures" from trained medical professionals that include IV treatments. A similar, more spa-treatment style bus exists in New York City. They don't take you to the hospital but provide medical care on the bus.
It's not the sort of ambulance I'd like to see if I had a gunshot wound or a heart attack, but for non-emergency transport it was an interesting concept. A family member a few years ago had to drive a close friend to his cancer treatments, and the hours-long rides home were a bit harrowing and stressful for someone who had just been through aggressive chemotherapy. I'm sure not everybody could afford it, but it's a concept that could have a market here as an alternative to standard private ambulance services.
But not in a damn converted hearse. That just seems to invite bad luck.
Oh, and in non-ambulance Top Gear happenings this episode, Daniel Ricciardo obliterated the rest of the field and took the top spot on the board of F1 drivers in the Suzuki Liana. And it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, too. He's a breath of fresh air from the stale odor of snobbery and cold aloofness that surround most F1 drivers. I might have finally found a solid favorite in the current Formula 1 field.
Favorite Car: Ford Scorpio Cardinal Hearse
Favorite Ambulance: Chevrolet G20. It actually was pretty quick. The patient ejection system a bit too quick.
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