For the past two years, Gustavo Rivera, a third-year medical student attending Montemorelos University in northern Mexico, has been running his own private ambulance service.
Seeing the demand for ambulance service in Montemorelos when he began studying, he pulled some savings together and obtained a loan to purchase a Type III ambulance, which is equipped to provide urgent care services during the transport of patients. Called Pulso Vital (“Vital Pulse”), Rivera runs the private ambulance with his wife and two other certified paramedics who also study at Montemorelos University.
“From the moment I began volunteering as a paramedic, it just awoke the desire to help others in need,” said Rivera. “We want to ensure [and] safeguard the well-being of those who need us through Pulso Vital.”
Rivera’s passion to help others stems from his work as a certified paramedic for the Red Cross in his home state of Tabasco in southern Mexico. He decided to study medicine and made his way to Montemorelos.
“One day, while I was dining with my wife, we talked about how scarce ambulances are in Montemorelos, and that drove us to plan for one,” said Rivera. There are government-run ambulances that serve public hospitals and the community but sometimes, people would have to call Monterrey, a distance of more than 80 kilometers, to ask for an ambulance transport. “The demand is very high, even with the local Red Cross and government-run hospitals and clinics which offer those services when they can.”
As a private company, Pulso Vital is certified by the State of Nuevo Leon Secretary of Health and the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) and currently one of two private ambulance services to cater to the more than 60,000 inhabitants in the region.
In 2021, Vital Pulse provided over 170 ambulance services; in 2022, over 190. The demand is growing more and more, said Rivera. “Many in the region do not know that they can opt for private ambulance service, and they don’t have to wait for only the government ones.” Slowly, people are finding out, he added.
In addition, the ambulance has also been used for simulated classes held by the Health Sciences department on campus for students to practice.
Rivera plans to purchase another ambulance and pursue urgent care medicine and intensive care studies as part of his medical degree. He expects to obtain his degree in four years.