RFT readers bear down on the dangers of overweight patients and racial prejudice

Mar 17, 2010 at 4:00 am
Getting to know all about you: You know, if more people would stop gathering their knowledge of black people from rap videos, drugs and sports movies, the U.S. would probably be a better place ["No Way! Black People Care About Climate Change, Too!" Unreal]. I don't gather my knowledge of white people from country-music videos, or drugs and horror movies.
Jason-Houston, via the Internet

Overweight slow down ambulances: While not morbidly obese, some of the city EMTs themselves are definitely more than a little overweight ["Heavy Duty," Ellis E. Conklin]. Thanks to this article, at least now I know why the ambulances go so incredibly slow, even with siren blasting and lights flashing and no traffic in sight. The weight of their patients holds the speed down!
Patrick Kleaver, St. Louis, via the Internet

Dead wrong: Patrick, you are an idiot, because 98 percent of the calls don't warrant going fast or even deserve my services. They're driving slowly for their own safety and the safety of others. Do you want to get hit by an ambulance that is driving 70 miles per hour on Kingshighway just because some idiot calls 911 and insists on transport because they have a cold?
Medic, Hillsdale, via the Internet

Backbreaking job: I've been a paramedic for over a decade, and even in that amount of time, I've seen the change. The reality is harsh: People need to be responsible for their own health and well-being — and lose the weight. It requires more personnel to care for them, both pre-hospital as well as during their treatment at the hospital. It requires more time and often requires the use of special or adaptive equipment. It is a daunting job, and, worst of all, it's a back-injury risk to the health-care providers. I can honestly admit that the problems of dealing are such that I have left EMS temporarily, and I am now in the Army on active duty.

I predict that because of the problems with caring for the morbidly obese, we will lose many intelligent, experienced paramedics and EMTs, and we will see them replaced by big guys who can move furniture easily but don't know the difference between congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. Maybe we just need big guys with strong arms after all. I know I'm done with it.
Dee, St. Louis, via the Internet

Ugly work: I am a nurse, and what you describe is only the beginning. Do you know how difficult and dangerous it is to care for big people? Yes, we have the occasional 500-pound-plus patients, but more often they are 250 pounds and over. They are difficult to turn and move. Try to wipe the ass or crotch of someone that large. It takes several people, a hose and several towels to do the job. What bugs me the most are the "fat-acceptance people," who say you can be fat and healthy — yeah, until you can't get yourself out of a hospital bed.
Kevin M. Ross, via the Internet

Alton has some fine watering holes: I will argue with the point that nude bartenders are commonplace in Alton ["Jamie Day: Topless Alton Bartender Pleads Guilty to Supplying Fatal Dose of Heroin," Chad Garrison]. Perhaps in the past this was true, but the city of Alton has done a lot to crack down on such establishments. Many in the city of Alton would agree that establishments allowing this practice need to have their liquor licenses revoked and be shut down. We have too many good bars in Alton to let a couple of little shady bars ruin the reputation of our city.
Jeremy Mills, via the Internet

No hate crime here: The cotton-ball incident was unfortunate ["UPDATED: Two Mizzou Students Arrested in Bizarre Hate Crime Involving Cotton Balls," Chad Garrison]. Not being sure of all of the details, I didn't get how cotton balls are making a racist statement. I also didn't understand why they all just didn't blow away. Vandalism, yes. Disrupting a collegiate environment, yes. The university is well within its rights to reprimand the young men. Yet charging them with a hate crime (I'm assuming this makes the incident a felony) seems like a lot. More details are needed to understand how/why this act is considered to be a hate crime.
DNLee, via the Internet