LIFTING & MOVING
A fresh perspective on safely handling patients
By Niklavs Eglitis, BS, NRP; Emily Corrigan, BS, NRP; Marc Sweeney, BS, NRP;
John Pierce, MBA, NRP & Walt Stoy, PhD, EMT-P
Lifting and moving are among the most important but dangerous endeavors in which EMS providers engage. The
consequences of a misstep can be devastating
Consider the case of a healthy paramedic
in a large municipal service. He was a former
kickboxer and avid weightlifter at the time
of his injury.
On the day he was injured, he was taking
a patient down a flight of stairs on a flexi-
ble Reeves stretcher. As he and his partner
were descending the stairs, the patient moved,
Due to the typical “I don’t need help, I’m
here to help you” attitude of an EMS pro-
vider, the paramedic chose to continue work-
ing and not allow his injury to properly heal.
As a result, his pain worsened until he could
no longer sleep.
The constant fatigue, coupled with chronic
pain, caused negative changes in how he was
perceived by his colleagues and supervisors.
Eventually, his extended time on disability
forced him into retirement. Today, following
five operations, he’s largely confined to a mobil-
ity scooter with a service dog to help him per-
form basic tasks.
In 2014, there were over 21,000 EMS providers treated in hospital EDs, with over one-third being the result of overexertion of the
Innovative patient moving technology, such as the
Binder Lift (shown above), powered ambulance
lifts, and powered stretchers are designed to minimize loads on the musculature of providers while
improving patient safety and comfort.
Photo courtesy Tri Community South EMS