Only in America as the saying goes. EMS services reported today that ambulances will now be equipped with cranes. The cranes will be attached to the top of the ambulances and will fold to fit lengthwise when not in use. The measure was prompted by the growing number of obese patients that Emergency Medical Technicians are now treating.
"We had to call the fire department, two ambulances, one for the patient and the other for our men, a supervisor, four fire trucks, a tactical rescue truck and a cartoonist from the newspaper," said Captain Dodger Geer of the Durham Fire Department about one 1,000 pound patient that his men recently treated. "To get him out of his home, we had to tie backboards together and take out a window."
Even the dictionary is expanding. The new EMS (Elephants Making Sounds) term for persons weighing over 250 pounds is the bariatric patient. MS Word spell check doesn't even recognize it.
Neither the state Department of Labor nor the Office of Emergency Medical Services tracks injuries to EMT's (Elephant on My Toes), but local departments say that their workers are getting hurt more frequently as a result of lifting the unwieldy leviathans.
Without assistance, the future looks bleak for the EMT in America. Some departments are hiring power lifters and training them to become emergency medical technicians. Others are requiring their workers to lift weights and are looking to the possibility of contracting with tow companies.
"The only thing positive that has come out of all of this unctuous dissipation is that the playing field has now been leveled," said Geer.
Geer was talking about the tension between an older generation of male EMT "goat ropers" who expected women to pull their own weight. Now, it doesn't matter. Male or female, you're still going to need a team of weight lifters on any given call.