Paramedic Gustavo Rivera (right) stands in front of his Pulso Vital ambulance service company next to Paramedic Didier Palomeck,  in Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Rivera, a third year medical student at Montemorelos University School of Medicine saw the need for ambulance services in the region and purchased the urgent care equipped ambulance two years ago.  [Photo: Courtesy of Gustavo Rivera]

Medical student runs ambulance services in Montemorelos to meet the needs of the region.

January 12, 2023| Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico | Laura Marrero and Inter-American Division News

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 (or Vital Pulse), Rivera runs the private ambulance with his wife and two other certified paramedics who also study at Montemorelos University.

The Pulso Vital ambulance sits in front the Montemorelos municipal district during a recent concert event where over 400 persons attended. [Photo: Courtesy of Gustavo Rivera]

“From the moment I began volunteering as a paramedic, it just awoken the desire to help others in need,” said Rivera. “We want to ensure to safeguard the well-being of those who need us through Vital Pulse.”

His 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 had 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, he said.

Pulso Vital paramedics work on a premature baby with thoracic trauma. [Photo: Courtesy of Gustavo Rivera]

As a private company, Vital Pulse is certified by the State of Nuevo Leon Secretary of Health and by the Federal Commission for the protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS), and it’s 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 and more than 190 in 2022. 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.

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