The Graham Medical Response

Rigid Versus Flexible Stretchers in Patient Transport

Posted by Graham Medical on May 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Rigid-vs-flexible-stretchers.pngThe role of the EMT is first and foremost that of a patient transporter - safely moving the patient from the point of injury, or occurrence, to a point of care and, meanwhile, assuring that the patient is stabilized and supported on the way. This is not to demean or belittle the importance of the stabilization and supportive activities, nor the training and dedication required to provide them. Rather, it is to emphasize and reinforce the importance of the transporting function.

When thinking about patient transportation, the traditional wheeled stretcher, or gurney, is typically brought to mind. The mental picture of a patient on a wheeled stretcher with collapsible legs being pushed into the back of an ambulance is classic. And the use of the rigid wheeled stretcher is great once you have the patient on a solid, smooth, flat surface. But what about those times when the patient is not on that solid, smooth, flat surface?

How can you get the patient in need to the wheeled stretcher waiting there? The best answer, in our view, is a rugged, durable, single-use, flexible transport device, such as the MegaMover® by Graham Medical.


Unfortunately, emergency situations don’t always occur on solid, smooth, flat surfaces. In the case of explosions, the terrain may be littered with debris blocking the area of attention. In other cases, the victim may be in an area unreachable by a rigid wheeled stretcher, either up a set of stairs, in a soggy field, on a soft sand beach, in a wooded area, or a rocky hill, just to name a few. In these cases, the flexible MegaMover® should be the transport device of choice.


One would think that a rigid wheeled stretcher would be safer than a flexible stretcher, but that may not always be the case. Even when the rigid wheeled stretcher is on a solid, smooth, flat surface, care must be taken to assure safety to the patient during transportation. In this instance, a wheel of a standard size rigid stretcher got caught in a crack causing it to tip and sent an oversized patient to the ground. Rough or soft terrain could pose similar hazardous conditions. In the unlikely event that an EMT should stumble while transporting the victim with a MegaMover®, the other assisting EMTs should be able to provide sufficient support to maintain the victim’s safety.

Infection Control

While the solid metal surfaces of the rigid stretcher should be able to be easily cleaned and disinfected between users, that is not to say that it always happens. A cursory spray or wipe down with a disinfectant agent does not assure that contaminated body materials such as blood, urine, feces, mucus and sputum are totally removed or that all microorganisms have been killed.

It is even less likely that the foam pad cushion is entirely free of potentially infectious material.

Maybe the better thing to do is to place the patient on a single-use, flexible stretcher - such as the MegaMover® - which acts as an additional barrier to contamination, before placing him or her on the metal stretcher. The single-use MegaMover® flexible stretcher can then be discarded and disposed of.

Storage and Portability

Being flexible, the MegaMover® comes folded up in a conveniently sized package which can be easily stored in the rig and can be easily carried to the point of need. In fact, multiple MegaMover® stretchers can be stored in a rig and used as needed.

For more information or to request a sample of the MegaMover® contact us here or call us at (800) 558-6765.

MegaMover Transport Units

Topics: MegaMover®, EMS