As the medical community tries to care for an American population that grows more overweight each year, Southwest Ambulance is unveiling its new ambulance for patients 450 to 1,000 pounds. The ambulance has an extra-large gurney and a ramp-and-winch system to load patients safely and with dignity, said Dorothy Porter, director of public affairs for Southwest. "I think it's going to become a very popular unit," she said.
The ambulance has a beefed-up suspension system and dual rear wheels to bear the extra weight. But the biggest difference between the bariatric ambulance and a standard one is the size of the gurney and the addition of ramps and an electronic winch to load patients, Porter said. [...]
Viki Alexander, patient care manager of UMC's emergency department, estimated UMC sees five to 10 patients a month who weigh more than 400 pounds. "I've been a nurse for 25 years and we used to occasionally have someone really big, but not as often as we do now," she said. The obese patients, she noted, are also younger than she has seen in the past.
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