Bariatric Patient Transport

Diabetes Mellitus Air Medical Services


What are the challenges of safely transporting Bariatric patients?  

Obesity affects at least one third of the US population, where it is characterized as an excess of body fat, or weight of 100 pounds over perfect body weight.Transportation of bariatric obese patients could present daunting challenges for the team on-board if they do not have the required bariatric patient transport experience or a full understanding of their needs.

The logistic needs for bariatric obese patients differ from other patients. On-boarding process requires the doors of the plane to be wide enough to accommodate the large girth of a bariatric obese patient. The dimensions of the aircraft therefore need to be fit for easy loading of such patients.

In addition to that, it is imperative that there is substantial loading system, including a loading ramp to avoid bringing discomfort to the patient or the crew.

To reduce stress, the same stretcher should go bedside with the patient and should therefore have monitoring equipment attached to the stretcher itself for smooth bariatric patient transport.

To reduce the risk of decubitus, bariatric patients may need extra padding. Moreover, since adipose tissue contains high concentration of nitrogen and with pressure changes, it weakens and releases nitrogen in the blood with large concentrations of lipids. This leads to increased fat emboli and nitrogen content, which requires placing oxygen on the patient prior to the flight; in order to reduce the risk a fat emboli during flight. Being in closed spaces could make the patient anxious requiring light sedation or pain medication.

How can AirMed ensure effective air medical transportation of Bariatric Patients?

Bariatric patients are a specialty population of patients and every request for the transport of a bariatric patient, is evaluated on a case-by-case basis to make sure that the transport can be performed in a safe manner. This includes obtaining measurements of height and girth so that the appropriate mode of transport is determined for the patient.

We can arrange for safe air transportation, with the required facilities on a 24 hour notice. Provision for capable ground ambulance to assist bariatric patients enroute to and from facilities is also available. Our 24/7 support team is fully responsive and can provide information and clarity on the condition of a patient to their loved ones.

Having hands-on experience in treating and transporting bariatric patients has enabled our teams to understand the emotional and physical needs of such patients.

We have added some unique features to our planes in order to facilitate a stress-free boarding process and comfortable air transportation of bariatric patients. Depending on the condition of the patient, we allow at least one family member to travel with the patient.


Our medical teams also hold board certifications in CFRN (Certified Flight Registered Nurse) or CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse) We are proud to have this as one of AirMed’s standards to provide the highest clinical care.