In Las Vegas, an ambulance company has announced that it would be providing a special, oversize ambulance specially equipped to handle specially equipped to handle massively overweight and morbidly obese patients who weigh 500pounds or more. This is being done at the request of the Clark County Fire Department.
Ray Carrol, the manager at American Medical Response, said that in the last six months, the company has handled 75 calls where they needed extra manpower to lift patients onto ambulances. He also said that moving someone that large in a regular ambulance poses safety problems for patients, paramedics and ambulance crewmembers.
The $250,000 (Ģ144,000) vehicle, developed by the American Medical Response group, looks like a standard ambulance. But it is wider, with an especially large wheeled stretcher trolley. The vehicle, called a Bariatric Unit, also has a special ramp and a winch that can handle loads of 1,600lb (114 stone), and be operated by just one crewmember.
Clark County spokesman Bob Leinbach called the need for the larger ambulances obvious as the average American are much heavier. Of Nevada's 1.7 million adult residents in 2004, the Federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Health Division estimate that 21 percent, or about 357,000, were obese