Marshall County is buying a motorized ambulance stretcher to lift patients who weigh several hundred pounds - a challenge for even the strongest paramedic, EMT and other first responders.
Two bids were opened last week at the county's budget office in the Courthouse Annex where Budget Director Freda Terry called out the prices and Emergency Medical Service Director James Whorley compared them.
Stryker EMS Equipment of Portage, Maine, bid $12,194.95 and Select-Tek of Shelbyville bid $12,912, Terry said. Power pro of Wake Forest, N.C. responded but didn't bid. Filing keeps the company's name on a list for other bid announcements.
"So," Whorley concluded, "Stryker gets the bid."
Terry noted that a purchasing official must have a reason for not accepting the lowest bid, meaning it's not always the successful bid.
"We're going to take the bid from Stryker," Whorley said.
"After we order it, it will take 30 days to deliver it," he said, anticipating delivery in early May.
Purchase of what EMTs call a power cot was endorsed by the county commissioners who are on the Emergency Medical Service Committee.
"This power cot may save a back injury," Whorley told the committee during a quarterly meeting at EMS headquarters, "and then it would be worth the cost."
Another stretcher used by ambulance crews costs approximately $4,200, but it doesn't have a motor to lift patients.
"Obesity is a bad problem in the United States and in Marshall County," Whorley said.
EMS Lt. Bobby Isley has said, "Some people are over 500 pounds. We had a guy several years ago and he was over 700 pounds. We could have used two more people" to help the four crewmen.