On Time EMTs Kelvin Checo, Radwa Abdelfattah, Kristen Cammarata, Stephanie Pereira, and Enid De La Rosa
Five On Time team members from the Roselle location recently transported a 700 pound patient home from a rehab facility.
This patient had been injured during a previous transport with another agency and was understandably depressed and uneasy. When the trip was completed successfully, she mentioned how On Time Ambulance is the only EMS company to bring her home without getting the fire department involved. She even wished that we had assisted her in all of her prior trips.
Great job to the team members involved for embodying the idea of “Caring in Motion.” We asked Station Supervisor Kelvin Checo (the selfie taker pictured above) a few questions about these types of trips.
How is it different transporting a bariatric patient than just doing a standard trip?
The main difference is the greater potential for employees to get hurt. That’s the number one thing. You have to beware of back or wrist injuries. Any little step or situation, you need to be extra careful when dealing with a bariatric patient.
What equipment was used in this transfer?
We have a bariatric truck equipped with a long aluminum rack and a winch that pulls the whole stretcher inside the truck. So we used the bariatric stretcher with the whole ramp and winch and everything. In this case we also used a Reeves stretcher to carry the patient out manually. A Reeves is like a nylon sheet with straps and wooden boards in it. So you put the patient on top of it and strap him or her down with handles attached to the top and bottom.
How do you prepare your team for a trip?
I always come with positivity. To get the blood pumping and to get everyone hyped up I make jokes. With this kind of event, I remind everyone that you can do anything as long as you’re safe about it.
When you finish the job safely and no one gets hurt, you can say “I lifted a 700lb patient up 22 steps.”
My main goal is to take all the doubt out of my team. If they have any doubt, they can ask me any questions with any problems they’re thinking about. But at the same time, I like to have input of my team of what they think their best ideas are.
EMTs Kelvin Checo, Bryant Correa, Andrew Ippolito, Carlito Medina, Steven Sehgal, and Fatima Manzoor on another recent bariatric trip.
What unique challenges did you face here?
With residential jobs and bariatrics, the main challenge we come across is space; small places and narrow hallways. So for example we’ll have all the people we need on the Reeves, but inside a small residence we can’t necessarily fit all six people. That’s where it gets tricky with communication because now we’re down a couple team members and still have 700lbs to lift. So having enough physical space and turning corners is definitely the main challenge.
Given your expertise with Bariatric transports, what advice would you give to other EMTs working with this population?
The main advice I usually give our EMTs is not to rush it. Take your time, and make sure you’re properly lifting with your back straight and communicating. If you just pick up and start doing it, you’re going to hurt yourself.
How about advice for interacting with the patient?
I’ll always communicate with the patient and make sure she’s OK. The patient is going to see a lot of EMTs around her. So I’ll talk to her, explain everything that’s happening at the moment, and before we unload her from the truck, I’ll explain the whole procedure of how we’re getting her into the house. When we get her outside, I’ll do a step by step: “OK we’re going up the stairs now” and keep communicating with her. I’ll ask her every few seconds if she’s OK and how’s her pain. Having wooden boards on your back isn’t the most comfortable.
At the same time, I'll be keeping eye contact with my team and making sure everybody is OK. Being with that kind of weight I always make sure to take it step-by-step because you definitely get fatigued. So we can see if we need to switch positions, take a break, and make adjustments.
Was there anything else remarkable about this recent trip?
I was really stoked that with this most recent trip, it was an all female crew. We have some really strong females here. One of them is in residence and about to be a doctor soon. So we have some pretty cool girls in that crew right there.
Our Bariatric ambulances are designed to handle patients with care, safety, and dignity. All units are equipped with ramps, a heavy capacity stretcher, a Hovermat® transfer system, and a heavy duty winch that safely assists loading of the stretcher into the ambulance.
We transport all of our clients safely and respectfully because we understand that when you strip away everything else, what we really do is care for people. Our mission is to deliver unmatched medical transportation solutions and personal care to our patients, families, and facility partners.
Thanks for reading!