Thursday, March 30, 2006


Reading an article in yesterday’s paper about a new ambulance added to the valley’s inventory. Vegas has two private ambulance companies that the city and county contract with to handle emergencies. So if somebody is injured and calls 911 a fire truck responds and one of the ambulance companies also sends an emergency unit, with two paramedics. This way the crew on the truck can aid in any rescue and the paramedics can do the paramedical stuff and do the transport.

Down in San Diego it was the same way, but then the fire department decided that they wanted to do the paramedic stuff since so many firemen were trained in that stuf, and they responded anyway. I think the fire department purchased some ambulances and was added to the emergency rotation.

All of the ambulances here are the ‘new’ style, looking like a big boxy truck. So the patient is rolled inside and can be worked on while driven to an emergency room. There are lots of emergency rooms in the valley, but like other cities too many people are relying on emergency rooms for care that should go to a doctor or an ‘urgent care’ center. But if you don’t have money or insurance a doctor will not see you while emergency is required to. This ends up causing ambulances to be re-routed to other less impacted hospitals. But that’s a different topic.

Back to the article: The city is requiring both companies to add an ambulance capable of handling ‘larger’ customers. The one company interviewed in this story last year responded to 75 calls involving patients weighing over 600 pounds (272kg?). This new vehicle, and required equipment, costs over $250,000.

I flipped through a tv show last week about a 750 pound man. At 500 pounds his knees were unable to hold him up. He crawled over and into his bed, and now is up to 750. I guess it’s his wife that feeds him and cleans up. Must be some cleanup – too big to get out of bed or use a bedpan, and I thought baby diapers were bad. Anyway, he was a BIG guy, all he could do was lie on his side in bed. I know how hard it is to lose weight, I’m working on 40 pounds myself, but to get that big – wow.

So if one of the services handled 75 calls, that means that probably 150 people weighing over 600 pounds needed emergency medical attention last year in the Las Vegas area. (if it was one call per person, might have been several calls per person, but that wasn’t discussed) I had no idea that there were that many people that weighed that much. I doubt if Vegas is atypical in this, so how many people across the country are that big? And every one requires a caregiver or two that bring food and clean up.

I keep seeing stories about how the average American is getting bigger, accompanied by photographs of ‘large’ people walking around. But this size?

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