Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fat ambulances for super-sized people

Kate Jones, medical reporter
27may06 (Melbourne Herald-Sun)

NEW ambulances for fat patients will be built under a $3 million funding package to be unveiled in next week's state Budget.

The reinforced ambulances will be able to transport patients weighing up to 350kg.
The ambulances will include specialist equipment such as heavy-duty wheelchairs, stretchers and lifters.

Five new ambulances will be built as a direct reaction to Australia's obesity epidemic.

Treasurer John Brumby will announce the funding on Tuesday when he delivers the Bracks Government's sixth Budget.

Of the $3 million, half will be used to fit out Victoria's rural and metropolitan ambulance fleet with bariatric, or obesity, equipment.

The new funding comes as Victoria's obesity crisis worsens, with rising numbers of "morbidly obese" people admitted to hospital.

The epidemic is reportedly taking its toll on paramedics, who face occupational health and safety risks in lifting obese patients.

The $3 million ambulance funding aims to protect paramedics as well as ensuring ambulances can cater for obese patients.

The new obesity ambulances are expected to be on Victorian roads in February next year.

The ambulance package is part of its $25 million anti-obesity funding boost expected to be announced in the budget.

Last week the Herald Sun revealed that about $10 million of the funding would be funnelled into school programs promoting healthy eating, exercise and positive body image.

Schools will also be able to apply for grants of more than $50,000 to set up vegetable gardens and grants of up to $6000 to encourage physical activity and nutrition.

State Government statistics show almost half of all Victorian adults are overweight or obese.

Childhood obesity is particularly worrying for parents and doctors, with children as young as four battling weight problems.

Hospitals are spending thousands of dollars on the installation of bariatric equipment that can care for patients weighing up to 500kg.

Last year the Royal Melbourne Hospital opened a purpose-built room with extra-wide doorways and bathroom, reinforced toilet, arm rails and beds to hold patients from 350kg to 500kg.

Is this the sort of Ambulance we should be getting used to in Melbourne?
I think more people need to read, understand and embrace the Paleolithic lifestyle.



Anonymous said...

As a young, fit Ambulance officer I have personally been injured more than once treating bariatric patients, and I have only been working for several years. Currently we have no dedicated bariatric transport unit in the service I work for and have used non-emergency vehicles or stripped an ambulance and put a mattress in the back, both of these options are crazy and dangerous but when the alternative is death, worsening illness or leaving a patient in pain there is obviously no alternative. These ambulances and equiptment are a must have for any ambulance service.

VAEMT said...

Those are actually what we Americans call Monster Medics. They're not really used for oversized patients. They're used as specialty units because they're larger in the back, has more room for patient care, etc. We have 1 and soon 2 where I am and I love them, people tend to move for them sooner then they do for the smaller ford F-350/450's.

Anonymous said...

I work for a municipal based ambulance. We are fortunate to be able to afford the larger ambulances. We currently have one of these huge ambulances and I personally love them. It has made my job as driver trainer much harder though. These are very large trucks with air brakes and teaching some of the EMT's to drive it and more so back it up is challenging. We are also fortunate enough to have the power striker stretchers which I feel are worth their weight in gold. With the lifting capacity of 700 pounds it can be a life (should I say back) saver. This is a career for me and I personally have to think about my own longevity. 25 years is a long time to have to be carrying people on you're back!

Anonymous said...

In 1971 only 4% of 6-to-11-year-old kids were obese; by 2004, the figure had leaped to 18.8%. In the same period, the number rose from 6.1% to 17.4% in the 12-to-19-year-old group, and from 5% to 13.9% among kid’s ageing between 2 to 5. Include all overweight kids, and a whopping 32% of all American children now carry more pounds than they should.

Anonymous said...

lets be nice here. most americans are just too stupid to understand theyre slowly killing themselves with too much food. being an amerian EMT for 10 years, ive been on a couple of obesity calls and its not so much the weight as it is the emotional distress these people are dealing with because they find themselves unable to conform with what they call "normal body style". and just for some clarity that is not a "monster medic". a monster medic is an old truck (usually large delivery) that has been modified to hold equipment and patients. its what we call a mass casuality rig.