Fat Canadians put strain on paramedics



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paramedic, Fat Canadians put strain on paramedics

Growing obesity in Canada is taking its toll on the backs and knees of paramedics.

As Canadians get fatter, it means that paramedics must lift more weight to get patients onto their stretchers, leading to more work-related back injuries among paramedics, according to Chris Lloyd, chief of emergency services for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Lloyd used the Canadians-are-getting-fatter statistics to persuade counties council to pay $150,000 for three more power-assisted stretchers to take some of the load off his paramedics.

Citing Canada’s “obesity epidemic,” Lloyd said statistics indicate that Canadians continue to pack on the pounds. Canadian men in the 90th percentile now tip the scales at 228 pounds. To put that in context, Lloyd said that paramedics in the 1980s were required to lift a maximum 165-pound person to pass their fitness tests.

The added weight can take its toll on paramedics when you consider they must lift these weights multiple times a day, he said.

“Averaged across the county, paramedics perform three patient-carrying calls per shift with each call requiring five separate lifts totalling approximately 1,500 pounds,” Lloyd writes in a report to council. “The total daily lift thus equals approximately 4,500 pounds per shift…