A Dutch ambulance service is granting the terminally ill their final wishes by picking them up from the hospital and letting them make one final wish.
Usually, an ambulance is deployed to bring to the hospital who are in need of medical attention, but with the Ambulance Wish Foundation, it’s the opposite way around.
The foundation picks up terminally ill people from the hospital and lets them grant a final wish. This final wish at the end of peoples’ lives can make them feel more content as the end of their life approaches.
Founder Kees Veldboar explained: “People are often very nervous and restless beforehand, but after their trip, they’re calmer and stronger.”
Most of the trips take a couple of hours to complete, whilst some can take all day. All of the trips are guided by medical professionals, who are all volunteers on the program.
So far, the organisation has 270 followers which include nurses, chauffeurs and doctors that drive around in six adapted ambulances throughout all of Europe to complete the wishes.
One of the brilliant things about this program is that it allows the patient to escape the everyday life of being sick and takes them to a different and new environment. It makes a pleasant day for not only the patients but their family and friends too, who often come along.
The ambulances have been specifically designed to suit the cause, as opposed to a typical ambulance. These ambulances have windows on either so the person can look outside, there’s also a stretcher which is comfortable and a full medical kit.
Before starting the foundation, Kees was a taxi driver but wasn’t happy with his profession. However, he quickly became interested when he heard that his boss had launched a taxi service in the Netherlands which meant that there would be cars suitable for a wheelchair to fit inside.
He asked what it would take for him to join and besides a driver’s license for a truck, all he would need was a medical license. As he had a family to support, it wasn’t an option for him to go back to school and study medicine. Fortunately, he soon heard that the guidelines had been changed and you could be an ambulance driver as long as you had a first-aid certificate. Determined, Kess quickly acquired this.
On one particular day in 2006, Kees recalled that his day was not particularly busy, which meant that he and his coworkers had to call around to whether they could be of use somewhere. When their bosses answered, they were notified that there was a patient that needed picking up. Once they arrived, they asked if he would like to go anywhere as there was no hurry to be at the hospital.
The patient turned out to be an old sailor and he was overjoyed at being offered the opportunity to make a final request. He asked if he could go to the harbour one last time.
The ambulance crew made some phone calls and they managed to take the terminally ill man on a boat for the last time.
Granting this man his final wish made Kees feel so happy that he wanted to do it again, so he decided to launch a foundation. A mere six months later, the Ambulance Wish Foundation was born.