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Boston modifies ambulance for obese patients

January 11, 2011

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BOSTON—Boston's ambulance service has modified one of its vehicles so it can handle the increasing number of obese patients that require transportation.

Officials say Boston Emergency Medical Services has to take anywhere from two to four patients weighing at least 450 pounds to area hospitals per week.

Capt. Jose Archila tells The Boston Globe he's seen patients as much as 700 pounds.

Experts say obese patients can put the health of paramedics in danger, who can injure their backs and necks lifting and moving the overweight.

The modified Boston ambulance that hits the streets later this month includes a hydraulic lift and a stretcher that can bear loads of up to 800 pounds. It cost about $12,000 to retrofit the vehicle.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.boston.com/globe