Increasing Obesity Requires New Ambulance Equipment

From the NY Times

Calls from obese patients had increased nearly 25 percent in recent years, and the Fire Department could no longer handle them.

The department’s gurneys could not adequately support the patients’ weight, and the department had to pay a private ambulance company.

Last fall, the department bought three gurneys that can hold patients weighing up to 600 pounds, about twice the holding capacity of a regular stretcher.

“We had to do something,” Acting Chief Tim McGinley said. “It was one of those things where we would try to use the equipment we had and were afraid that you were going to end up hurting somebody, the patients themselves or the staff.”

Emergency rooms buckle under patient load


Overcrowded hospital emergency rooms are at the breaking point across the country, with potentially deadly consequences for heart attack victims and other extremely critical patients, doctors warn.

The logjam is the result of a variety of factors, from the number of patients who seek care for non-emergency conditions, to budget cuts, to nursing shortages, to the closing of failing hospitals.

Little-known ‘failure to rescue’ is most common hospital safety mistake


High-profile medical errors such as operating on the wrong body part or receiving a mistaken dose of drugs should take a back seat to a far more common and insidious mistake, a new report reveals.

For the fifth straight year, an analysis of errors in the nation’s hospitals found that the most reported patient safety risk is a little-known but always-fatal problem called “failure to rescue.”

The term refers to cases where caregivers fail to notice or respond when a patient is dying of preventable complications in a hospital.

Poor Rural ER Docs

From Notes from the Country Doctor:

Doctors in rural ER’s have a tremendously challenging job and I have the utmost respect for them. They often work twenty four or more hours at a time and are asked to see a lot of runny noses intermixed with horrific traumas from motor vehicle accidents or farming/logging injuries. In between there is boredom. It is a lonely job that of being an rural ER physician.