Daimler Buses converts Mercedes-Benz Citaro for transporting Covid-19 patients

In News, Daimler, Mercedes-Benz3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 28, 2020

Daimler Buses has converted an inter-city bus into a special vehicle for the transfer of Covid-19 patients at its plant in Neu-Ulm. 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 that is providing the specialised medical staff. SWU Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu-Ulm GmbH (public utility company) is providing drivers and maintenance personnel.

DRK-Rettungsdienst Heidenheim-Ulm managing director David Richter had the idea of converting a bus in response to the need to increase intensive care transportation capacity, and Daimler Buses offered its support. A team of 12 employees from bus production in Neu-Ulm converted the bus to a high-capacity critical care ambulance in just 15 working days.

“The high-capacity critical care ambulance puts DRK-Rettungsdienst Heidenheim-Ulm and the doctors from Ulm‘s University Hospital in a position to efficiently relieve hospitals where intensive care beds are in short supply. And not only in the Ulm/Neu-Ulm area but in other regions and states,” says DRK-Rettungsdienst Heidenheim-Ulm managing director David Richter.

The Mercedes-Benz Citaro, built in 2019 as an inter-city bus with 45 seats and standing room for 40, 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 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. It has stowage space for medicines, nursing equipment, additional breathing apparatus and protective clothing. The bus has been repurposed so patients can be transported in various positions, and the side windows 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, hygiene 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.