Have a Stryker Power Cot? Check the Hydraulic Lines

If I had to pick the one single invention that has had the most impact on my professional practice of EMS, it would be the Stryker Power Cot. Sure, there are some awesome changes that have been made to the profession in the years that I’ve been applying bandages to accident victims, but those things like the 12-lead EKG and CPAP don’t affect every patient on every call like the power cot does.

I love it and you can’t take it from me. I won’t let you. If your department doesn’t have one, you should get one. Right now. Don’t wait.

Sure, the other brands of power cots may be just as good or better, but I haven’t used any of them personally and I can’t say anything about them. I suppose that all versions of the power cots are light years ahead of the old manual cots, but I only have experience with the Stryker version and I love every single, solitary bit of it. It’s amazing.

However, today I came into shift and found out something about the Stryker Power Cot that I didn’t know. It’s important enough that I should share it with you.

On yesterday’s shift, one of my coworkers was cleaning and inspecting the undercarriage of the cot and noticed that the hydraulic lines that lead from the hydraulic pump to the lifting arm were becoming damaged by the “Knee gatch” plate on the underside of the cot. Apparently whatever model of cot we have (I don’t know exactly) has an optional feature where we can elevate the knees of the patient for their comfort. I love this feature because it is just incredibly more comfortable for the patients that like it. Unfortunately, the hydraulic hoses have been rubbing on the metal of the knee gatch plate and have worn down somewhat dangerously.

Since all of our cots are the same model and were all purchased at the same time, we checked the others and they have similar damage to the hoses as well.

We informed our Director who has informed Stryker. Apparently this is not a common problem, and may be caused by the optional knee gatch feature that we have installed on the cots.

Here are some pictures:

Here are the hydraulic lines, the duct tape is our super high-tech fix for the problem so far

Here are the hydraulic lines, the duct tape is our super high-tech fix for the problem so far

Here is the "knee gatch" option with the knees of the cot elevated. You can see the metal plate that was rubbing on the hoses.

Here is the “knee gatch” option with the knees of the cot elevated. You can see the metal plate that was rubbing on the hoses.

The Bottom View of the knee gatch plate where the hoses were rubbing.

The Bottom View of the knee gatch plate where the hoses were rubbing.

If you have a Stryker Power Cot, it may be wise to inspect your hydraulic hoses to check for the same problem. We have no idea how long our hoses have been like this, as everyone in our service admits to never having had checked this particular part of the cot. Since it never gives us any problems, it hasn’t been a high priority. However, if you have one of these cots, check the hoses. You may be having the same minor problem with this otherwise exceptional piece of equipment.

Be safe out there.

  • Jp2124

    I just started a new job that uses Stryker power cots. My old boss who i still work for prn said wanting a power cot was just laziness. I said call it whatever you want, I love it.

  • Pmedic350

    We use the Stryker power cots as well and I agree they are one of the best innovations in years and far better than the 2 man cots from days gone by and yes I am dating myself lol. We went the extra step and have them PMd (preventative Maintenance) every 6 months by Stryker. Your company thought enough of you to get them go the extra step and PM them. It finds these problems and also if for some reason you ever find yourself in litigation about the stretchers such as a patient drop you have records from Stryker showing they were well maintained.

  • Tim

    I love the power cot, but I do want to point out the downside. I used to do decent 12 power lifts a day, good exercise for lifting… with the power cot, I have to go to the gym for that ;) I think we’re at risk for weakening our crews, so when they do need to have some muscle, they are less conditioned for it. That said, the decrease in back injuries is so much better than getting a little exercise at work.

    • recoil_operated

      We had all manual cots at my last job and still had plenty of morbidly obese techs and medics who practically needed to go to the cath lab after a two flight stair chair job.

  • Ian Lombardo

    The power pro’s I use don’t have the knee gatch

    • Dave Bloom

      Might want to think of checking hydraulic hoses anyway. I worked with a Ferno cot and would never have thought of that.

      • Ian Lombardo

        I do every shift and I have no problems

  • James_63

    Until a fix comes from Stryker, cover the areas that rub with a section of rubber hose. A piece of garden hose a few inches long and secured with nylon cable ties will do it. The hose takes the wear instead of the hydraulic line and can be replaced cheaply if it wears through. It’s less messy than duct tape and easier to remove. It’s a common fix on heavy equipment hydraulics, it should work on cots.

  • The MacMedic

    I’m finding that the problem isn’t the knee hatch feature but the trendelenburg feature. The major problem is that the hoses end up rubbing against this plate every time the legs are retracted. It doesn’t really matter which feature is causing the problem, it’s a design flaw that Stryker has to deal with.

  • http://www.survivormedic.com SurvivorMedic

    That coworker must be an awesome guy.

    • Ckemtp

      I’ve heard that he’s always very well prepared…

  • firemedic 107

    should be having periodic certified PM on all cots yearly, same as I hope you have PM by a biomedical firm on your heart monitors , AEDs Pulse Oximeters and all electronic equipment, We switched ours services to the local community BIO-Med dept and saved a ton of money years ago , versus the high priced service contracts from Medtronics , Zoll , ETC , The hospitals are usually glad to do this for some $$$$ much less than the companies charge , FYI

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Chris Kaiser aka "Ckemtp"

I am a paramedic trying to advance the idea that the Emergency Medical Services can be made into the profession that we all want it, need it, and know it deserves to be.

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