Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Obese Patients a Growing Problem for European Rescue Crews

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Obese Patients a Growing Problem for European Rescue Crews

Article excerpt

EUROPE

European emergency crews are facing growing difficulties with rescuing extremely overweight patients from blocks of flats around the continent, with old-fashioned tenements with narrow doorways and no lifts posing a particular problem.

Paramedics are increasingly having to resort to using heavy-duty equipment such as cranes, tarpaulins and extra-large ambulances to get patients safely out of the buildings and on their way to hospital, according to spokespersons from emergency services around Germany.

Operations of this type also appear to be becoming more regular. Peter Braun, a spokesman for the Hamburg emergency service, said: 'A few years ago, we only dealt with such cases maybe once a year. These days, such missions have built up to an average of once per month.'

In one such incident in March of this year, paramedics had to carry a 300kg man down a ramp from his balcony and into the basket of a 60-ton capacity crane after he collapsed in the bathroom of his fourthfloor apartment in Hanover.

Crews often also find that standard stretchers, which are designed to carry a maximum weight of 160kg, cannot support extremely overweight patients. …

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