supersize me

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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11 Responses:

  1. phreddiva says:

    When I was working for Kaiser one of the biggest "more frequent now than previously" problems with obese patients was the number of nurses sustaining injuries trying to move them. Firefighters might help get them into the ambulance, but no mention is made of how these people are moved once in the hospital.

  2. candid says:

    At long last, an ambulance that allows the morbidly obese to keep their dignity.

    I guess all those checks I sent to NAAFA weren't wasted. (Although their project to make fat acceptance an issue in the Presidential campaign still seems to be going nowhere.)

  3. jlindquist says:

    Surrre, they publicize it with the back doors open. That way, you don't see the federally-required WIDE LOAD legend across them.

  4. bitpuddle says:

    450 to 1,000 pounds? Good God. At what point do you look in the mirror and think, "this is more than a few extra pounds?"

    I'm was guessing around 300, but apparently I'm wrong.

  5. myasma says:

    In my ICU at the moment are a 500 pound woman, and a 600+ pound man. It's sad--they're trapped in their own bodies.

    • quercus says:

      Trapped in their own bodies ?

      What did they do, burrow their way in by gnawing a tunnel ?

      I believe in a National Health Service (I'm a Brit and a proud Socialist). We should all pay taxes, and these taxes should go for healthcare on smokers, bikers, the obese and skydivers (I'm neither of these, just to dodge the flames).

      But don't ask me to condone them stuffing their burger-holes all day.

  6. pragma says:

    So how will they refer to this thing? The Sport/Emergency Vehicle? Maybe just "the Hambulance". Will they have special burly EMTs who can resuscitate through several feet of force-diffusing flesh? The super hi-voltage de-fib machine? All this and more on your next hack stand-up comedy night.

  7. koyote says:

    Have I mentioned yet?

    This is pretty damned grotesque.

    that's a HUGE ass gurney.

    I feel very sad for people who use this.

    I also feel a tad bit grossed out by the thing.

    That photo is NOT about dignity.