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Paramedics Put on Motorcycles

September 25, 1998

LIVINGSTON, N.J. (AP) _ A hospital system has rolled out what it says is the nation’s first squad of motorcycle-mounted paramedics.

Starting next week, 12 paramedics at Saint Barnabas Health Care System will share two BMW motorcycles to weave through congested traffic to bring emergency care to people in need.

``Ambulances do not do well in traffic jams,″ Dr. Jay Kaplan, chairman of Saint Barnabas’ Emergency Services, said Thursday. ``That’s been a major problem. This motorcycle paramedic team solves that.″

Customized to Saint Barnabas’ specifications, the bikes carry medicines, trauma equipment, even defibrillators. The hospital system paid nearly $16,000 for each bike.

``They can initiate treatment, fill the gap until the ambulances get to the scene,″ Kaplan said. The bikes cannot carry patients.

The motorcycles will be based at Saint Barnabas, but used throughout a 10-hospital system from Hudson County down the New Jersey shore to Ocean County.

Jeffrey Goldstein, a paramedic for Saint Barnabas and a rider for 24 years, had proposed the idea.

``I’ve been in many situations where you just can’t get to a patient in time in an ambulance,″ he said. ``These bikes are a phenomenal tool in any situation where there’s traffic.″

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