In recent years there have been numerous stories about larger people being turned away for airline flights. Probably most well known was Kevin Smith’s scuffle with Southwest Airlines.
Well now the situation has spread from commercial aircraft to the medical flight arena.
The increasing problem of rescue helicopters being unable to carry the extra weight of an obese patient, or in some cases the patient not fitting through the doors, has caused those medical transport professionals to look at their fleets and reevaluate.
Air Methods, one of the country’s largest air medical transport companies, says that roughly 1% of the 500,000 patients they see each year are unable to be transported with the equipment they have now thanks to be too large to fit through the doors. Countless others are denied transport due to being too heavy for the helicopter to take off or successfully fly to its destination.
The solution? Besides putting the entire country on a diet? Fixed wing planes, helicopters able to take on a larger payload, and when push comes to shove, sending the patient by ground ambulance despite that taking exponentially more time.
At the end of the day, outside of a systemic societal change, there are no easy answers. Even the easy answer isn’t an easy answer.