While the world waits for an obesity drug, paramedics in Arizona are equipped with a new tool that will help them work around the problem of increasing waistlines. It's a new ambulance, custom made for obese patients.
As obesity increases in America, the job of a paramedic becomes harder in lifting patients onto gurneys and up into ambulances.
"We got 750 calls last year to assist with patients that couldn't fit onto gurneys," says Beth Admins, Southwest Ambulance Supervisor.
So, Tuscon is now one of four places in Arizona where counties have purchased a new, heavier-duty ambulance designed to comfortably transport people who weigh more than 600 pounds.
All you do is press a button and it electronically lifts the patient, so instead of asking three or four paramedics to lift together, this new gurney does it with a wench. Another advantage for the larger patient is this gurney is about twice as wide as a normal one.
I called our local EMS folks to find out if we have an ambulance here equipped for obese patients, and they told me we must be watching our weight better here in Lubbock. Because here, they only get one or two calls a year for very large patients. Nothing like the hundreds they're transporting to hospitals in Arizona.