12 January 2011

Boston super-sizes ambulance for obese patients

The Boston Globe reported this week that Boston’s ambulance service has modified one of its vehicles so it can accommodate the increasing number of obese patients they are called on to transport.

Officials from the Boston Emergency Medical Services said the new ambulance will include a hydraulic lift and a stretcher that can hold up to 800 pounds. Boston emergency services reported they are called on to transport two to four patients weighing up to 450 pounds a week to area hospitals.

The new vehicle is also being deployed to ease the burden of emergency workers who have suffered injuries on the job from transporting obese patients.

“With a 300-pound patient, it’s not too bad, or even 400 pounds,’’ said Jose A. Archila, a Boston EMS captain. “But to be honest with you, with a 500-, 600-, 700-pound patient — it’s just too much for you.’’

According to The Globe several others pieces of medical equipment have had to be modified for overweight patients including hospital beds and wheelchairs.

The super-sized overhaul costs about $12,000, and the stretcher costs an additional $8000. The vehicle will be deployed by the end of January.

Robin Lawless | @robmlaw | email
Robin lives in New York City where she loves to check out all the vegan eateries. When she's not writing for TDIV, Robin enjoys taking dance lessons, reading, practicing yoga, hanging out with her cat Maggie, baking vegan treats, and volunteering at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Feel free to add Robin as a friend on Facebook.

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