New ambulances can transport motorized wheelchairs for patients

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NEW YORK -

New ambulances are equipped to transport motorized wheelchairs for patients.

Blanca Lugo has used her motorized wheelchair for 10 years. Since then, she says it's become much more than just a means of getting around.

"If I can't take my chair...I'm dead," she says.

For many of the 60,000 disabled New York City residents, being separated from a motorized chair means immobility and dependence. They're too heavy to bring on ambulances, so the chairs are left behind, meaning a costly outcome for patients.

The FDNY's specialty truck division is looking to solve that issue and completed the city's first motorized wheelchair transport in Brooklyn Thursday morning. It was accomplished by using a state-of-the-art bariatric ambulance equipped with a hydraulic lift.

Previously, unless someone could stay and watch the chair, it was left at the scene unattended. While EMTs say patient care is still the priority, motorized wheelchairs are no longer being overlooked.

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