Taos County EMS equipped with first bariatric ambulance in Northern New Mexico


Taos County Emergency Services outfitted a new, specially-designed ambulance last month that will allow local medics to more easily transport overweight patients in Northern New Mexico.

Local EMS are the first to gain access to the newly-outfitted emergency vehicle, which is known as a "bariatric ambulance" and has been equipped with a hydraulic lift that can hoist up to 1,300 pounds. The vehicle is also provisioned with a gurney that can carry a maximum weight of 1,600 pounds, according to a press release from EMS Chief Joaquin Gonzalez.

"Taos County and Northern New Mexico have several patients that exceed the current weight limits of our equipment," he said, "so the decision was to outfit a specialized ambulance that can safely transport those patients to the hospital, and most importantly, to do so in a dignified manner."

The new lift was obtained through a grant from the New Mexico Department of Health, and the gurney was secured as a donation from Española Presbyterian Ambulance. Gonzalez said his department received a total of $25,500 in funding "at no cost to Taos County taxpayers."

The ambulance has a widened interior with built-in power supplies and hydraulics that can assist medics in transporting obese patients treatment safely and more efficiently.

Gonzalez said it's the only emergency vehicle of its kind north of Albuquerque and will be made available for other EMS departments from Española to Raton.

"Unlike normal ambulances," he said, "bariatric ambulances make it safe, reliable and dignified to transport bariatric patients properly."