More lives are being saved in Hertfordshire thanks to the Herts Air Ambulance (HAA). Since its launch in November 2008 this vital Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) has flown over 1,000 life-saving missions.
The landmark call-out was on Thursday 12th April where the aircraft was despatched to provide critical care to a patient in cardiac arrest. This is one of the many types of injury and illness that the HEMS Team bring their life-saving support equipment and skills to. Once back at base the Air Ambulance was immediately called out again and despite worsening weather conditions, Chief Pilot David Kerr-Sheppard flew the aircraft to the other side of the county to assist the East of England Ambulance Service in treating a patient with a life-threatening medical emergency. HEMS Doctor Marc Wittenberg and Critical Care Paramedic John McCusker administered a pre-hospital anaesthetic; a specialist treatment only afforded by having full time Doctor and Paramedic Teams on the helicopter, then made the important decision to quickly airlift the patient to Harlow Hospital Emergency Department where they received further expert clinical care.
Herts Air Ambulance is part of the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, a Charity responsible for operating two Air Ambulances andproviding free life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) for Hertfordshire, Essex and surrounding areas. The people of Essex and Herts benefit from two helicopters as the Herts aircraft will fly into Essex and the Essex aircraft would, of course, respond to those in need of advanced pre-hospital care in Hertfordshire.
The Herts Air Ambulance is operational 5 days per week and attends on average 1-2 incidents per day. Working in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) who task the helicopter mainly by receiving 999 emergency calls, the aircraft is dispatched to patients with serious illness or injury caused by such incidents as traffic collisions, falls from height, heart attacks, stabbings, cardiac arrests and strokes. Of the 1,000 missions attended by the life-saving helicopter based at North Weald
Airfield; almost half were road traffic collisions, approx 16% were falls and 20% were medical cases.
Stuart Elms, Clinical Manager for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, said: “The Herts Air Ambulance launched after a need was identified to provide the people of Hertfordshire with the same high performance medical team of experienced Pilots, Doctors and Critical Care Paramedics for serious injury and illness as found in Essex. On 5th November 2008 the Herts Air Ambulance went live and yesterday, 3 and half years on flew its 1000th mission to assist a patient in cardiac arrest. Working closely with its sister aircraft in Essex and the EEAST, the HEMS team have saved lives, reduced or prevented disability and suffering from critical illness or injury. Providing state of the art care and equipment to the people of Hertfordshire and beyond, this dedicated team of professionals completely rely on charitable funding to function.”
Dawn Easby, Herts Air Ambulance Senior Fundraising Coordinator, adds: “We're thrilled to have reached this milestone thanks to the support of the people of Hertfordshire and local businesses, schools and organisations who have been behind us every step of the way, ever since we first started fundraising for the helicopter back in April 2007. The momentum just keeps on building with every day that passes, and it is thanks to you that we are able to keep raising sufficient funds to keep this vital life-saving service flying and saving precious lives."
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