By: AP
By: AP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - West Alabama now has its first oversized
ambulance to accommodate extremely overweight patients.

NorthStar EMS launched the area's first specially designed ambulance to transport obese patients this month. The ambulance has an extra-large stretcher and a winch to help lift large patients into the vehicle.

The winch can lift as much as 1,600 pounds. A spokeswoman with the ambulance service, Haley Brown, says the ambulance is safer both for patients and workers. She says it's been used several times a week since it went into service earlier this month.

The ambulance mainly works in the Tuscaloosa area, where DCH Regional Medical Center already has extra-large beds for patients who weigh up to 1,000 pounds.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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