High-tech hospital on wheels rolls into Oliver

High-tech hospital on wheels rolls into Oliver

Clinical resource educator Jesse Sheridan listens to Apollo's heartbeat at a training bay inside the Mobile Medical Unit stationed at South Okanagan General Hospital. (Photo by Lyonel Doherty)

By Lyonel Doherty

Meet Apollo.

His eyes are a little creepy but he’s a likable guy who doesn’t say much. Unless you program him to.


“Oww, that hurts.”

“My chest is tight.”

Definitely not dating material. Look, his eyebrows keep moving!

But that’s all part and parcel of BC’s Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) stationed at South Okanagan General Hospital this week.

The self-contained hospital on wheels is facilitating specialized training for local clinicians and stakeholders.

The MMU, housed in a 16-metre tractor-trailer, expands to 1,000 square feet with up to eight patient treatment bays.

“I think it’s awesome!” said public health nurse Barbara-Joy Taggart as she checked out Apollo, known as METIman.

She noted the MMU would be ideal during a disaster, and it gives clinicians a great opportunity to practice and keep their skills up to date.

Public health nurse Verla Strawn mentioned that Apollo’s eyebrows keep moving. Yes, we noticed that.

Jesse Sheridan, clinical resource educator, said the MMU was a legacy from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. He noted the unit provides clinical outreach, event support, and hospital renovation support.

Sheridan said they are working with South Okanagan General Hospital this week for clinical education purposes. Today, a trauma scenario will test the skills of local paramedics.

One member of the public asked MMU staff if the unit was replacing Oliver’s hospital that may be “closing down.”

The answer was no.

For hospital staff, skill stations and simulations will be set up in the MMU to test their medical expertise. And Apollo will be their guinea pig by getting a tube shoved down his throat. He’ll be the trauma patient with a collapsed lung. As long as he doesn’t get up and run away, everything should be fine.

The high fidelity simulator is developed by CAE Healthcare. He breathes and has a constant pulse, unless he’s in cardiac arrest. And his pupils constrict when you shine a light in his eyes. But he’s got to do something about that exposed knee bone, and he could certainly do with a facial.