A stretcher is a medical device used for short-term carrying of patients who require medical care. Stretchers are primarily used in acute out-of-hospital care situations by EMS, military, and Search and rescue personnel.
Stretchers can be equipped with a variable height lower frame containing wheels, tracks, or skids to allow the stretcher to be moved more easily. A simple stretcher does not have such a frame and therefore needs to be carried by two or more people. Despite these differences, their essential function remains the same.
They can often be referred to as a cot, litter, gurney, bed, cart, or (for bariatric stretchers) land barge.