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Patients Getting Too Large, So Ambulances Adjust

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BOSTON) -- As the average calorie count of American meals continue to grow, and the average American body swells as well, ambulances are starting to make similar expansions.

Boston’s Emergency Medical Services will deploy an ambulance retrofitted with a stretcher capable of lifting patients up to 850 pounds, according to The Boston Globe.

Emergency medical personnel have been familiar with heavy patients for a long time, but now a critical point has been reached. They’ve also installed a hydraulic lift on the ambulance to help lift obese patients on board. Altogether, the cost of equipping the ambulance was $12,000, the newspaper report said.

“With a 300-pound patient, it’s not too bad, or even 400 pounds. But to be honest with you, with a 500-, 600-, 700-pound patient — it’s just too much for you,’’ Jose A. Archila, a Boston EMS captain told the newspaper.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, no state had a population of obese people greater than 14 percent. The most recent numbers in 2009 show that only Colorado and the District of Columbia had a prevalence of obesity less than 20 percent.

The change in Boston may be surprising, but the numbers show its necessity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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