BEAR offers affordable solution for bariatric transport

BEAR-iatrics turns any conventional stretcher into a bariatric stretcher


By Sarah M. Smart
EMS1 Assistant Editor

Have you ever passed a call or lost crucial minutes waiting for another unit because your ambulance didn't have a bariatric stretcher? Or worse, maybe your team just tried to make do with the cot you had, risking injury and causing a whole lot of embarrassment for the bariatric patient.

Keith Ishida is the CEO of BEAR-iatrics, a product that turns any conventional stretcher into a bariatric stretcher. He is also a paramedic who has encountered this problem.

Image BEARiatricsThe B.E.A.R. helps a bariatric patient feel stable
Image BEARiatricsThe B.E.A.R. helps a bariatric patient feel stable

"We were doing a bariatric transport, and the abdominal section failed," Ishida said. "We had to push the patient against a wall... and then we stretched a sheet over him to keep him on the cot."

So Ishida started experimenting with similar prototypes that would keep bariatric patients on standard-sized stretchers and longboards until he settled on strong, lightweight materials that are resistant to UV radiation and chemicals, and BEAR-iatrics was born.

The B.E.A.R in the name stands for "Bariatric Equalizing Abdominal Restraint."

At $395, the invention is the least expensive of its kind. BEAR-iatrics also save money by making specialized cots and ambulances unnecessary.

More importantly, the product helps bariatric patients feel comfortable and safe during transport.

"Our product isn't about money," Ishida said. "Our product is about benefiting large people who just can't fit on an ambulance cot... helping them to keep their dignity and pride."

BEAR-iatrics takes less than five minutes to set up, and it stabilizes the patient's abdominal mass relative to the cot so it's easier and safer to maneuver, boons to the transport team.

"Paramedics no longer have to improvise, and they don't have to wait" for an ambulance with a bariatric cot to arrive on the scene, he said.

Ishida said BEAR-iatrics might evolve to include more of a transfer device, but his focus is on the core product.

"It's all about the patient and keeping them within the 'golden hour' of patient care," he said.

For more information on BEAR-iatrics, visit the company's official website.

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