Emergency Medical Services Groan Under Strain Of Expanding Population

“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 EMS captain Jose A. Archila addresses the difficulties of ferrying the growing number of morbidly obese patients to the hospital. Boston, where rescue crews are increasingly tasked with transporting patients weighing at least 450 pounds, has now retrofitted one of its ambulances with a hydraulic lift to ease the burden. It’s a testament to our can-do spirit, and our inability to stop putting things in our mouths.