>> BY THOM DICK, EMT-P
CARING FOR OUR PATIENTS & OURSELVES
EMT poses a different loading strategy
This is a story about an EMS device that arose from a situation no rdinary person would appreciate. But as an EMS provider, trust me, you
will. When you read what happened, you’ll
understand its significance immediately. In
fact, you’ll want to stop reading and salute
the EMT who invented it.
Imagine you’re a volunteer at a small
rural EMS agency. You and your partner,
both munchkins, respond alone for a roll-over motor vehicle collision. On arrival, you
encounter an inverted vehicle containing
two small children in the back seat and two
generously proportioned adults up front.
The front passenger weighs about 350 lbs.,
and the driver at least 500. Somehow, you’ll
have to extricate all four patients and get
them into one ambulance.
Let’s salute Doris Van Ness. Doris and
her partner did something rural EMTs do
every day, Life-Saver—something that transcends all of the spreadsheets, databases and
journal articles to which we devote so
They adapted to their situation and overcame. They enlisted the help of enough
passing motorists to stabilize, extricate,
carry and load all four patients into the
ambulance for transport.
People like Doris do what they do for free
because there simply are no other resources.
Sick people are getting heavier. And Doris’
agency, is struggling financially—as are
most small agencies. In the future, they
may or may not be able to come up with
even the 50% matching funds for a grant to
obtain a self-lifting cot and a loading system
that would at least help them during lifting
Self-lifting cots are wonderful tools, but
their extra weight is nothing to sneeze at.
Anyway, back to Doris. After the call, she
patented a completely different loading idea,
using something she did have: her vehicle’s
electrical system, a three-quarter-ton bum-
per winch, some extruded aluminum and a
basic understanding of physics.