Ambulance Adds Hydraulic Lift for Obese Patients Boston medical crews were straining under heavy loads By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jan 11, 2011 4:29 PM CST 10 comments Comments File photo (Flickr) (Newser) – The cost of obesity on society has become a little less abstract for Boston. The city's Emergency Medical Services shelled out $12,000 to retrofit an ambulance with a hydraulic lift for the heaviest of patients, reports the Boston Globe. The same ambulance also has a brand-new $8,000 stretcher capable of lifting 850 pounds. The upgrade came because emergency crews were straining their backs under the loads of ever-heavier patients. “With a 300-pound patient, it’s not too bad, or even 400 pounds," an EMS captain tells the newspaper. “But to be honest with you, with a 500-, 600-, 700-pound patient—it’s just too much for you."