What Does a Patient Transporter Do?

K. Kinsella

A patient transporter delivers the sick and injured to medical facilities and transfers patients between hospitals and other locations that provide medical treatment. Many patient transporters are government employees while others are volunteers or employees of businesses. Transporters use a variety of different vehicles to move patients, ranging from cars to helicopters and even small airplanes.

Patient transporters must be fully-trained paramedics.
Patient transporters must be fully-trained paramedics.

Typically, a patient transporter employed by a hospital or other medical service provider normally has to undergo some basic first aid training because many patients need immediate medical assistance and transporter teams do not typically include doctors. Many medical firms require all transporters to become trained paramedics and in some countries, paramedics must complete college courses or certification classes. Additionally, at least one patient transporter in each team must hold a valid license to operate the vehicle being used to transport the patient. Individuals with valid driving licenses usually have to undergo some additional driving instruction before they can drive ambulances or other types of vehicles.

Patient transporters may take part in moving a patient from one hospital to another.
Patient transporters may take part in moving a patient from one hospital to another.

Dispatchers employed by local governments normally contact emergency medical teams and provide the transporters with details of the location where the patients are situated and basic information about the patient's injuries or ailments. Upon reaching the scene, a patient transporter must perform any necessary first aid and then help the patient into the vehicle. If the medical team includes multiple members then one member operates the vehicle while another attends to the patient's needs during the trip to the medical facility.

Many hospitals and medical facilities are not equipped to handle situations involving rare diseases or severe injuries. In such instances, the medical team must make arrangements for a patient transporter to move patients to another facility. Generally, patients are moved using the quickest mode of transportation which may be a plane for a major trip or an ambulance for a short journey.

While medical transportation services are often government operated, in some instances private contractors and charities are also able to transport patients. In many countries, these organizations must register with either the national or regional government. Furthermore, transporters must have vehicles that pass basic safety checks and some governments require all transporters to have some kind of medical credentials. Private transporters generally provide services for patients with non-emergency conditions.

Many outpatients have to visit doctor's surgeries and hospitals on a regular basis and due to the cost of hiring patient transporters, some government entities allow these patients to enlist friends and family members as transporters. These individuals are not paid for the escorting patients although they typically have to register with the local government authorities. Nevertheless, these informal transporters are often able to park in designated handicap parking places or in locations normally reserved for professional transporters. Usually, volunteer transporters are able to enjoy some of the same conveniences that professional transporters enjoy.

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