MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

July 18, 2013

Belt helps medics safely lift obese patients

County EMS has one in each ambulance

— Lifting obese patients can present risks not only to the patients but to those who are charged with their care.

Not only is back injury a concern for medical workers, no one likes to hurt a patient he or she is trying to help, said Jordan Stevens, a paramedic supervisor for Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service.

That’s why Stevens calls a new piece of equipment the best he’s seen in his 12 years as a paramedic.

The Vetter Belt looks like a piece of rock-climbing gear. But it’s actually a good way to lift patients weighing more than 400 pounds without hurting the patient or medical personnel, Stevens said.

An estimated 32 percent of adults in Muskogee County are considered obese, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. And that problem is on the rise.

“When you have a larger patient, it’s really difficult to help them up or lift them without hurting them,” Stevens said. “And lifting causes 70 percent of injuries to emergency medical technicians.

“So, this belt gives us something else to grab onto other than the patient — and the patients we’ve used it on so far are really happy with it.”

MCEMS was allowed to test one of the belts last spring.

“And two days after we received it, we had to use it on a woman who was so happy with it that she’s asked us to make sure and bring it back if we need to lift her again,” Stevens said. “She was amazed by it.”

It helped so much, Stevens said, that MCEMS added the belt to all 21 of its ambulances. The belts cost $300 each, he said.

Stevens says MCEMS can use the belt to:

• Lift a larger patient onto a stretcher.

• Help transport patients from the hospital to home or nursing homes.

• Assist an obese patient who has fallen out of bed and just needs help getting up.

The Vetter Belt was invented by Diane Vetter, a 16-year veteran firefighter and emergency medical technician, according to its website.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks