Stockholm’s taxis to moonlight as ambulances

stockholm-iiStockholm’s medical and taxi officials have announced that some of the city’s taxis will be on call to respond to emergency calls, and that the drivers will be trained to treat cardiac arrest using defibrillators kept in their taxis.

The Local reports that at least 100 of Stockholm’s taxis will soon be equipped with defibrillators and can be deployed to emergency scenes if they aren’t carrying passengers.

Jeanette Lindstrom, who is heading the innovative project at Taxi Stockholm, said “The sooner the patients get help the greater their chances of survival. We are out on the roads 24 hours a day. In the event of an emergency, we can get there quickly and begin life-saving measures.”

She was quick to add, however, “We are absolutely not going to replace ambulances.” The new programme is a collaboration between Stockholm’s largest taxi company, Taxi Stockholm, and the city’s Sodersjukhuset hospital.

Joakim Svendsen, one of the taxi drivers involved in the programme said the defibrillator was very simple to use, commenting: “It’s incredibly easy. You just lift the lid, push the on-off button, and it starts giving you instructions.”

Also taking part in the programme are several dozen security guards, whose vans will likewise be fitted with defibrillators. The Swedish Heart and Lung Association estimates that 11,000 Swedes die each year from acute cardiac arrest. The hope is to reduce that number in coming years.