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Taos County Gets Its First Bariatric Ambulance

Joaquin Gonzales, Director
Taos County EMS


Taos County recently rolled out the area’s first ambulance made specifically to transport obese patients. It can make it safer and more comfortable for heavier people to get medical assistance.


Typical ambulance gurneys can carry up to 600 pounds, but Joaquin Gonzales said three or four times a year, his crews will respond to calls for people exceeding that limit. He’s the Director of EMS in Taos County and said it takes a lot of work to move those patients.  


"Some ambulance services don’t have powered stretchers, so you have to lift that gurney all the way up into the ambulance," he said. "So that takes at least six people to do so."

Their new one is a regular ambulance outfitted with a broader cabin and new hydraulics, Gonzales said, so its lift can automatically load up to 1,300 pounds. That should require fewer EMTs.

The county got it with a grant worth more than $25,000, making it the only one of its kind north of Bernalillo County. They have two of their own.

The new ambulance will be used all over Northern New Mexico, from Raton to Santa Fe.




KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the Con Alma Health Foundation.


May joined KUNM's Public Health New Mexico team in early 2018. That same year, she established the New Mexico chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and received a fellowship from the Association of Health Care Journalists. She join Colorado Public Radio in late 2019.
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