IN AN EMERGENCY, CALL 911

Obesity Epidemic Is Changing Emergency Medical Transport

By JESSE LEAVENWORTH, leavenworth@courant.com The Hartford Courant

October 20, 2012

Emergency medical technicians have long shared a Murphy’s Law kind of reckoning about obese patients: for every additional floor in a building, the patient will weigh 100 more pounds.

It’s dark humor among men and women with an often grim, strenuous job, but obesity rates are rising throughout the state and nation, and a recently released report says the ranks of the morbidly obese will continue to balloon.

The task of transporting patients who weigh at least 100 pounds more than they should is now a daily reality in Connecticut and throughout the nation. The job strains ambulance crews, causing widespread back injuries, and piles financial burdens on both volunteer companies and professional providers.

“We’ve always had to deal with big people,” said Glenn Luedtke,safety committee chairman of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, “but nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see someone who’s 300 pounds into the 400-pound range.” Continue reading