Bariatric patients "Ambulance" by EMS1

Aug 07, 22
Bariatric patients 'Ambulance'  by EMS1

bariatric patient

Practice professionalism with bariatric patients 

As individuals we are entitled to our opinions, but understand the causes of obesity before commenting on it
EMS News in Focus 
by Arthur Hsieh
Earlier this week, an EMS1 reader reached out to me via email, lamenting about some of the crass comments that were written about obese patients. Indeed, it's pretty interesting how some of our colleagues view obese patients. Fortunately, most of the comments on the thread were in rebuttal to the few crass ones.
Obesity is a major health issue for many in our country. According to the Centers for Disease Control nearly 36 percent of the U.S. population is obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, and 6.3 percent are morbidly obese (having a BMI of 40 or more). The health issues associated with being very overweight are significant, and are a factor in the patient population EMS serves.
The reasons for being obese are many. Medical conditions, the inability to conveniently buy healthy foods, a lifestyle that promotes poor eating habits, and not making exercise a priority all contribute to the issue. Making a deliberate choice to be obese is not a factor.
As individuals we are entitled to our opinions – this is a free country, after all. But one should know the facts and better understand the causes of an issue before spouting off something that is simply embarrassing to read.
While we're on this issue, recognize that injury rates to EMS workers are significant. According to the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, over 27,000 EMS provider injuries were reported in 2011. A majority of injuries occur during exertion, and center around the neck and trunk (back). It's crucial that we are in good physical shape, use excellent ergonomics and take advantage of appropriately designed and tested lifting equipment to make our job safer.
The fact is, we perform work that is abrupt in nature, often interspersed with long intervals of sitting around. It's a perfect recipe for an injury to occur.

Bariatric patients by EMS1
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About the author
EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art

A video training presentation designed solely for the employees of S.T.A.R. Ambulance Service on the safe and proper transportation of bariatric patients. While the presentation does attempt to best follow the guidelines set forth by the manufacturers, the statements and procedures used in this video have not been approved by nor necessarily represent those of either the Stryker or Tran Safe corporations.

Bariatric patients by EMS1 Art By Paul Combs
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Moving bariatric patients just got easier

The latest BEAR connects to a stair chair to safely transport large patients up and down multiple stories

Expert Analysis: Earlier this week, an EMS1 reader reached out to me via email, lamenting about some of the crass comments that were written about obese patients. Indeed, it's pretty interesting how some of our colleagues view obese patients. Fortunately, most of the comments on the thread were in rebuttal to the few crass ones. Practice professionalism with bariatric patients

Obesity is a growing problem, no pun intended. The average weight for men 20 to 74 years old rose dramatically from 166.3 pounds in 1960 to 191 pounds in 2002. The new BEAR Stair Chairhelps EMS providers address this challenge.

BEAR-iatrics, Inc is known for the BEAR, or Bariatic Equalizing Abdominal Restraint, which I’vewritten about earlier. The BEAR products all share one design principle: They keep the loose mass of the obese patient from shifting around. If the abdomen isn’t moving around, it’s easier to control and move the patient.
One or two belts simply are not enough to safely secure an obese patient to a tiny seat. Frankly I’ve never used a stair chair on a very large patient for this very reason. But often there just isn’t any good way to get these patients down stairways. Where are the biggest patients when you arrive on scene? The second story, of course — unless there is a third floor. Then you will inevitably find them up there.
How it works
The latest version of the BEAR is built for use with a stair chair. It’s a great solution to a tough problem. Most stair chairs have fairly small seats, usually only about 20 inches wide. This helps make them easy to store. But with an obese patient they can be a little scary.
The BEAR attaches to the frame of the stair chair and wraps around the patient’s abdomen in two directions. The lower part then comes up and around the thighs and hips. The top bands feed through clever pockets that allow for length adjustment.
It does a great job keeping the patient and their abdominal mass centered and in place. This opens up an important new means of moving these patients down stairs.
Power combo
We now have newer powered stair chairs available with astonishing weight capacities. Used in junction with a powered chair, the BEAR Stair Chair opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.
In a video of a demonstration at the 2013 EMS World Expo, you can see a very large patient being moved both up and down stairs in the Ferno EZ Glide stair chair with Power Traxx. At one point he tries to shift his mass in the chair. This would be disastrous in most real world situations. The BEAR Stair Chair does a great job of keeping him firmly in place.
The EZ Glide makes moving him look so easy. Tom Cox of Ferno even shows off a little by briefly maneuvering the chair one-handed. It is plain to see this is a one-two combination of products that really works. For more information on the BEAR Stair Chair, check out BEAR-iatrics website.

Bariatric patients by EMS1 ART by PAul Combs
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About the author
Dan White, EMT-P works for Intersurgical, Inc. as the National Account Manager for EMS. Immediately prior he ran Arasan, LLC. He served as Sales & Marketing Director for Truphatek, Inc. and before that Director of Corporate Planning & Product Development for AllMed. He has been certified as a paramedic since 1978 and an EMS and ACLS instructor since 1981. Dan has designed many emergency medical products since his first, the White Pulmonary Resuscitator, including the Prolite Speedboad, Cook Needle Decompression Kit and RapTag Triage System. His more recent EMS product designs are the Arasan Ultra EMS Coat and the B2 Paramedic Helmet. To contact Dan, email

Related: How Britain's fattest woman - weighing 55 stone - was rescued from her flat.... with TWO cranes, SEVEN police cars, TWO fire engines and ELEVEN medics!

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