Virginia Tech students working on device to help EMTs lift heavy patients

Idea won first place at business pitch competition in Danville


DANVILLE, Va. – A potentially life-saving device designed to help EMTs lift heavy patients is one step closer to reality thanks to some Virginia Tech students.

The students just won first place at an annual business pitch competition in Danville.

EMTs say they have a lot of technology to help them transport a patient, but there's nothing to help them get a patient off the ground.

The device the students are working on can be placed under a patient and will have hydraulics to lift them up.

It will allow EMTs to lift a person quicker and with less effort and risk of injury.

"When we have larger patients that two people can't handle, a lot of times we have to call for another truck. That takes time for that truck to get there to help," Martinsville Fire Department Lt. Dwayne Robertson said.

Being able to lift a patient quicker means that the patient can be transported to a hospital quicker.

Robertson said time is often more of a factor for larger patients than for other patients.

"Sometimes, the larger patients, they've waited awhile until they call. So now, they're condition's deteriorating," Robertson said. "The quicker we can get them loaded into the trucks ...the better chance the patient has to get to the hospital."

The students won $5,000 from the Launch Place, which hosted the competition, and 25 free hours of business consultation with the Launch Place.

The Launch Place is a Danville nonprofit that provides seed funding for start up companies and helps the companies develop.