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Prehosp Emerg Care. 2014 Oct-Dec;18(4):555-7. doi: 10.3109/10903127.2014.912708. Epub 2014 May 15.

Risks associated with obese patient handling in emergency prehospital care.


The number of ambulance crewmembers may affect the quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in particular situations. However, few studies have investigated how the number of emergency care providers affects the quality of CPR. Nonetheless, problems in the initial handling of patients due to small ambulance crew sizes may have significant consequences. These difficulties may be more frequent in an obese population than in a non-obese population. Hence such problems may be frequently encountered because obesity is epidemic in developed countries. In this report, we illustrate the fatal consequences of initial problems in patient handling due to a small ambulance crew size in an obese patient who suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Following successful resuscitation, this patient presented humeral fractures that may have promoted a disorder of hemostasis. The patient eventually died. This case highlights the requirement for specific instructions for paramedics to manage obese patients in these emergency conditions. This case also highlights the need to take into account body mass index when deciding on appropriate pre-hospital care, especially regarding the number of ambulance crewmembers.


emergency medical services; heart arrest; moving and lifting patients

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