Matt Savadsky, MedStar Paramedic Supervisor Explains Heavier, Obese People Require Heavy Duty Ambulances and Cots

Interview with Matt Savadsky of MedStar in Fort Worth, Texas. The ambulance provider for Fort Worth, Texas is swapping out all of it’s vehicles for larger, sturdier ones that can carry heavier patients.

For Matt Savadsky, MedStar Associate Operations Director, patients seen today compared to 30 years ago are growing — just like the human race in general.

According to the centers for disease control …
in 1980, 15% of Americans were obese and 1.4% extremely obese
in 2006 more than 35% of Americans were obese and 6% extremely obese.

Ambulances today have heavier duty cots with extra support, longer straps, and winglets, a special ramp, and even wenches inside the ambulance to help lift the gurneys.


MedStar in Fort Worth is replacing every one of its ambulances, and hopes to have its entire fleet replaced by the end of the year. The boxes on top are the same, but the chassis and cots are heavy duty. New larger stretchers can carry patients up to 650 pounds. The old gurneys were limited to 500 pounds.

In the Emergency Medical Service field, the specialized ambulances are known as Bariatric Ambulances. Some ambulance companies charge extra for the use of bariatric ambulances, which has raised the ire of obesity activist groups. A casual observer can’t tell a bariatric ambulance from a regular ambulance.