New, heavy duty ambulances have been introduced in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein due to a rise in heavier and obese patients. The new vehicles will be safer both for the patients being transported, and the attending paramedics. Based on 7.5 tonne trucks, the ambulances feature lifting gates that can lift loads of up to 1.5 tonnes, and wider stretchers which can carry patients weighing up to 400kg. Otherwise, patient care remains the same.
“We’ve noticed that many patients don’t weigh 75 kilos these days, but often a lot more – that’s the basic reason we’ve chosen to get these heavy-duty vehicles,” said Christian Mandel, spokesperson with Schleswig-Holstein rescue services spokesman, speaking to TheLocal.de. Two ambulances are currently on duty, with no plans to order more just yet.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described obesity as one of the greatest public health challenges in the 21st century. According to an OECD obesity update in 2014, 15.7% of men and 13.8% of women in Germany are considered obese.