Supersized Boston Ambulance Makes Room For Obese Passengers

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REUTERS / Hugh Gentry

Following an influx of obese passengers, Boston’s Emergency Medical Services will begin using an ambulance equipped with a hydraulic  lift.

Boston joins a handful of other U.S. cities that have already unveiled ambulances equipped for overweight passengers, including Kansas City, Las Vegas and Omaha.  The city’s hospital beds and wheelchairs have already expanded to accommodate heavier patients.

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Between 2000 and 2005 the obese population in America increased 75 percent.  A 2009 Gallop poll found over a quarter of Americans to be obese, having a BMI of 30 or higher.  Boston ranks 52nd in Men’s Health’s 2010 poll of America’s Fattest Cities.

Rescue crews have reported transporting two to four patients weighing at least 450 pounds weekly. In attempts to spare the crews’ backs and necks, the ambulance’s retrofitting will cost $12,000. It will also cary a stretcher able to carry 850 pounds, costing $8,000.

(See photos of Brooklyn’s all-volunteer ambulance corps)

At least the paramedics’ health will now be spared.

(via Boston Globe)