When faced with an emergency, Upstate and northeast Georgia residents will now have even faster access to the life-saving care they need. Through a partnership with AnMed Health, Med-Trans Corp. is launching a helicopter program called LifeFlight, which will improve the timeliness of care for heart attack, stroke and trauma patients outside the city of Anderson.
The biggest benefit comes to hospitals and patients in smaller, outlying communities, said Paul Hubbard, RN, AnMed Health’s special projects coordinator. Many hospitals without heart catherization labs already chose to transfer patients to Anderson for treatment. The helicopter protocol simply speeds up that process, Hubbard said.
As soon as physicians diagnose a heart attack, the helicopter is notified and nurses start preparing the patient for transport. From most hospitals in northeast Georgia, patients could be on the helicopter within 40 minutes and into AnMed Health’s heart catherization lab in about an hour.
“Time is muscle,” said Dr. Brett Stoll, medical director of AnMed Health Heart and Vascular Center. “The helicopter gets patients to the cath lab faster so we can get the artery open, stop the heart attack and save heart muscle.”
Cooperation between AnMed Health’s Emergency Department and Heart and Vascular staffs has resulted in an average door-to-balloon time well below the national standard. The Medical Center’s average door-to-balloon time is only 55 minutes, and 100 percent of Emergency Department patients reach the cath lab in 90 minutes.
“By using a helicopter, other hospitals are able to provide this same care for their patients,” Dr. Stoll said. “If someone presents to an emergency room in northeast Georgia, we’re able to get them in the cath lab and start intervention within 90 minutes.”
Heart attack patients will get the most use from the helicopter service, but also it will improve care for trauma victims. Like the 90-minute standard for heart attack patients, studies show that trauma patients’ chances of survival increases significantly if they are treated within an hour of their injury. This “golden hour” becomes much more attainable with air travel.
In the beginning, LifeFlight is expected to transport at least 20 patients a month. But over time, the volume of patients using the helicopter will grow, said Tina Jury, AnMed Health’s chief nursing officer.
“Helicopter service is something we’ve been interested in for a long time,” Jury said. “We chose Med-Trans because it’s an established company with helicopter programs across the country. With 30 years of experience, they are known for their safety and have the depth of resources to keep us up and running around the clock.”
Med-Trans also operates two other helicopter services in the Upstate – Med-Trans One in Greenville and Regional One in Spartanburg. To learn more about the Anderson flight crew and LifeFlight, go online to www.AnMedHealth.org.
Med-Trans Corporation, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a leading provider of air ambulance programs in selected locations throughout the United States. Med-Trans is focused on establishing partnerships with leading hospital systems, medical centers and EMS agencies to provide customized air medical programs through specialized delivery formats, including alternative delivery models, community based models or traditional hospital-based models. The company's extensive fleet of helicopters delivers teams of highly trained medical and flight professionals to patients requiring emergency medical care and transports the patient to the appropriate medical facility. The company has grown from four to 33 programs over the past six years. Med-Trans is a subsidiary of Air Medical Group Holdings, a portfolio company of Brockway Moran & Partners and Meridian Venture Partners.
AnMed Health is the state’s largest independent, not-for-profit health system with more than 35 patient care sites. The health system is anchored by the 461-bed Medical Center and includes a satellite North Campus which houses the 72-bed Women’s and Children’s Hospital, a comprehensive Cancer Center, physician offices and the Cardiac and Orthopaedic Center. The system also includes the 40-bed AnMed Health Rehabilitation Hospital, a joint venture with HealthSouth.
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