ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — The Orange County Fire and Rescue spends tens of thousands of dollars for an ambulance to transport patients that weigh up to 1,100 pounds.
Central Florida News 13 reports that the ambulance was purchased after emergency responders had to transport at least two dozen patients who weighed more than 500 pounds last year.
“With some of these morbidly obese patients, we have to send more firefighters just to lift and to move the patient. So once they’re in and we get them to the hospital, someone has to be at the hospital to unload them,” one Orange County fire official told News 13. “That’s pulling a lot of resources from emergency calls just to do that.”
Orange County paid $23,000 alone for the lift gate and stretcher and the stretcher is 10 inches wider than the average one.
“In the past you’d have to get five, six, seven firefighters to physically lift the patient in. It increases the chance that something could happen to the patient,” a fire official told News 13. “It also greatly increases the chance that something could happen with back injuries within fire services.”
The ambulance dubbed Bariatric Unit One made its first successful run Tuesday.