Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Supersizing Air Ambulances

Yesterday, I predicted that this year we will continue seeing concerns about and services for individuals with extreme obesity. 

Perfectly on cue, the Government of New South Wales (Australia) announced that they have put out a tender for larger air ambulances that will allow transportation of patients weighing upto 260 Kg (up from the current 140 Kg). The larger planes will cost an additional $10 Mill per plane.

Given the importance of air ambulances for transporting patients from geographically dispersed remote parts of Canada to urban centres, I wonder how we are dealing with this issue in Canada. Given the high prevalence of obesity in rural communities, I would not be surprised if our air ambulances are faced with a very similar problem.

I assume that this is only the first of a whole series of news stories that we will be seeing from around the world regarding the need to “supersize” everything from public seating, hospital beds, commodes and doctors’ scales to ambulances and amusement park rides.

I predict a good year for the “bariatric” industry.

Edmonton, Alberta

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One Response to “Supersizing Air Ambulances”

  1. Sandy says:

    This is disengenuous to attribute this move to obesity. As a long time neonatal transport nurse, my patients weighed an average of 3-5 pounds, yet because of flight safety regulations, the equipment (with the isolette, ventilator, additional air tanks, monitors, and everything else desired to be prepared for any emergency) made the gurney too heavy and many types of aircraft over weight. The planes, and especially the helicopters, are too small to safely reach the patient during flight, too. Aircraft have needed to be enlarged for decades now. With the increasing need to transport patients to regional centers and available beds, it’s about time it is done more safely.

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