The Christ Hospital Health Network today announced that it will partner with Christ LifeFlight, a subsidiary of Air Methods, to add a new dedicated rotor wing helicopter for the Christ Hospital. The new base will support the care and transportation of critically ill and injured patients throughout the region.
Along with the key medical personnel, Christ LifeFlight provides the Christ Hospital with highly trained and certified pilots and mechanics to ensure the safe arrival of all patients. Air Methods operates and maintains the helicopter out of Christ Flight.
“We are consistently improving ways that we can support our patients with the best possible air medical and emergency care options,” said Timothy D. Smith, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, Director of the Cardiovascular ICU and ECMO Program “Christ LifeFlight’s commitment is a testament to everyone’s belief that this is a critical service. These aircraft provide our citizens with the best opportunity to reach a tertiary center to help reduce response times during life threatening emergencies.”
Officials from both The Christ Hospital and Air Methods recognize the growing need for an air medical service that can respond to emergencies in the area more rapidly and determined the need for the additional dedicated helicopter. At a time when more than 85 million Americans live more than an hour drive from Level-1 or -2 trauma centers, there is an increasing demand for air medical services to ensure that patients have access to necessary care centers. With the continued consolidation of hospitals and the trend towards centers with specialized heart or neurological care, the clinical support and speed of missions are critical to giving patients the best possible outcomes.
“Our partnership with The Christ Hospital Health Network furthers our mission to provide critical care in the air for anyone who needs us,” said William Dukes, regional sales director at Air Methods. “Between our industry-leading service and The Christ Hospital Health Network’s care, we know that this partnership will continue to grow so that we can continue to provide the Cincinnati area with the services they need.”
The cardiovascular intensive care unit at The Christ Hospital offers technology typically seen at only large, quaternary academic medical centers. The same could be said of its physician leadership, nursing staff and clinical expertise.
Physicians in all major specialties work together in the 16-bed Richard T. Farmer Family cardiovascular ICU to provide care for the region’s most severely ill heart and vascular patients. The cardiovascular ICU’s case mix acuity index — which is consistently above 6.0 — is the highest in the region and a testament to the team’s high level of expertise.
The shock program and cardiovascular ICU provide complex therapeutics, including:
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), including veno-arterial ECMO for patients with cardiogenic shock, and veno-venous ECMO
Advanced mechanical ventilation
Surgical and percutaneous Impella heart pumps
TandemHeart, which provides short-term circulatory support
Extracorporeal cardiovascular resuscitation (ECPR) for people with active cardiac arrests
The hospital’s ECMO Program is particularly robust, with the 24/7 multidisciplinary team offering complex decision-making surrounding the initiation of mechanical support, as well as the complex management that follows. ECMO is offered as a bridge to recovery and/or advanced therapies, such as left ventricular assist devices or, in extreme cases, cardiac transplant.
Timothy D. Smith, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, Director of the Cardiovascular ICU and ECMO Program, provides a unique combination of training and expertise. He is the only physician in the region to be board certified in cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology, endovascular medicine and critical care medicine. Because of his background, Dr. Smith brings a new definition to the phrase “continuity of care.” He not only does complex interventions in the cardiac cath lab but oversees those same patients in the cardiovascular ICU.
“Critical care cardiology is a rapidly evolving field, and our goal is to provide our patients with every advancement in a comprehensive ICU environment,” Dr. Smith says. “The Christ Hospital has the region’s largest mechanical cardiac support and structural heart programs, so having a state-of-the-art cardiovascular ICU to support those patients is essential but having this new this new partnership and services is essential in getting them to the care they need.”
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