Jose A. Archila, a Boston EMS captain told the Boston Globe in January, “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.”
Boston was one of the first to retrofit their ambulances to accommodate more obese passengers—a $12,000 process—and now Fort Worth, Texas, is following suit, at the cost of $7,000 per vehicle. Fort Worth is also getting stretchers built to support 650 pounds, as the old ones, with their 500-pound limits, were occasionally proving inadequate. Boston’s stretchers cost $8,000 a piece and can withstand 850 pounds.
One paramedic in Worcester, Massachusetts, displaced two vertebrae while carrying a 400-pound woman, forcing him to miss a month of work.