N. Florida County Seeks Bigger Stretchers for Obese Patients

A growing obese population in Florida has health officials in one northern county seeking new stretchers with hydraulic lifts.

Alachua County emergency officials want an $11,500 grant to help buy two new stretchers that can move patients who are too big to be safely transported on current equipment.

County rescuers say they get more than 75 patients a year who weigh more than 400 pounds.

The problem has increased as the state's obesity rate ballooned from 11 percent in 1990 to 26 percent in 2013.

The Gainesville Sun reports that the county currently uses 26-inch-wide stretchers; the new equipment would be 29-inches wide.

Alachua County Fire Rescue assistant chief Harold Theus says the new stretchers would make it safer for rescue workers and patients.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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