New Mexico Department Unveils Bariatric Units

Bernalillo County shows first of three new units being purchased


 
 

DAN MCKAY, Albuquerque Journal | | Monday, January 14, 2013


As the obesity rate grows, Bernalillo County firefighters now have a gurney that can handle even the heftiest of patients - up to 1,600 pounds.

The county's Fire and Rescue Department on Thursday showed off the first of three bariatric rescue units it's purchasing.

They're the first of their kind in the metropolitan area, the county said.

The ambulance-like units feature a heavy-duty gurney that's twice as wide as standard ones, and a rampand-winch system can pull the gurney into the rescue unit.

The current gurneys can handle patients up to 600 pounds.

Fire officials can't say how many patients exceed the 600 pounds, but they say the new gurney will help transport all large patients because of the winch.

County Commission Chairwoman Maggie Hart Stebbins said the equipment will make transportation safer for both the patients and the firefighters who lift them into the unit.

More than a third of adults in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"That's an issue our firefighters have to deal with every day," Hart Stebbins said in an interview. "There is a need for specialized equipment."

The vehicles cost about $254,000, only $4,000 more than a regular rescue unit. They will be put into regular service, so they'll get plenty of work regardless of how often firefighters encounter a large patient who warrants the larger gurney.

"It's not just sitting there in case we have a bariatric emergency," said Larry Gallegos, a spokesman for the county fire department.

He wouldn't predict how many patients will end up needing the system.

It "could be one a week, a month," Gallegos said.

The first of the bariatric rescue units will be housed at Station 33 on Barcelona SW, though it will be available elsewhere if needed. The North Valley will receive a similar unit later this year, and the East Mountains will get one in 2014.

Gallegos said the purchases are part of the county's regular program for replacing rescue units.

The heavy-duty gurneys will be helpful for large patients, even ones who aren't necessarily obese, Gallegos said.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, bariatric patients, bariatric ambulances

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Four Killed in New Mexico Medical Plane Crash

Crash near fairgrounds claims patient and crew of three.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Involved in Crash

Odessa ambulance and car collide during response.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Las Vegas Fire, AMR Reach New Deal

Tentative agreement reached over ambulance calls.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Fire Damages Several Homes in California Earthquake

Four homes destroyed and others damaged after quake rattles Napa.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

NTSB investigates crash that killed four.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.? Scranton

JEMS Editor-in-Chief visits his hometown of Scranton, Pa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Over 100 Injured in California Earthquake

172 patients treated at Napa hospital after 6.0-magnitude earthquake.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >