From July 17th, the DRF Luftrettung in Dortmund will quickly help with another helicopter: A modern EC145 will replace the BK 117. In addition, ” Christoph Dortmund ” will be equipped with an EpiShuttle, a special insulating stretcher.
“Christoph Dortmund” makes an extremely important contribution to the emergency medical care of people in North Rhine-Westphalia as an intensive care helicopter and also in emergency rescue, “emphasizes Dr. Krystian Pracz, CEO of DRF Luftrettung. The EC145 machine offers many advantages compared to the previously used model BK 117, especially for longer patient transports between clinics, which can sometimes be located in other European countries can, ”adds Dr. Krystian Pracz added.
“For us pilots, the new helicopter model makes work easier,” explains pilot and station manager Markus Sandmann, “the three-axis autopilot and the digital glass cockpit provide relief, especially on longer flights.”
At 700 km, the EC145 has a far longer range, uses up to ten percent less fuel and, at 254 km / h instead of 240 km / h, has a higher operating speed than the previous model; it also offers more space for patient care and, thanks to optimized ergonomics, better working conditions for the medical crew on board.
EpiShuttle protects crews and patients
In addition, the equipment of “Christoph Dortmund” is expanded by an EpiShuttle. This special insulating stretcher has various air filters, thus shielding the patient from the environment 100 percent. This means that the crews are fundamentally protected against viruses and bacteria during transport. This allows them to better focus on the patient’s medical care. The EpiShuttle offers optimal security and, thanks to the access options, numerous treatment options during transport. In addition, there is no need for time-consuming disinfection of the machine, which means that the crew can take on another assignment more quickly.
With the acquisition of the EpiShuttle, which now has the eleventh DRF air rescue station in Dortmund, the organization has also responded to the corona pandemic. “Our station in Dortmund is the only air rescue station in NRW that has an EpiShuttle,” adds Dr. Krystian Pracz.
The insulating stretchers are also available after the current pandemic and, thanks to their expanded range of uses, sustainably improve the health system. In the future, the EpiShuttles can be used for other infections, such as possible influenza waves. The medical crews at the station were familiarized with the system in detail, including through an extensive operational concept that takes a wide variety of scenarios into account. As a result, the crews of “Christoph Dortmund” are able to carry out transports with the EpiShuttle according to the highest security standards if indicated. The cost of an EpiShuttle is currently 40,000 euros.
Special features of the Dortmund station of the DRF Luftrettung
Due to its central location in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Dortmund helicopter can reach clinics in a short approach time. The Dortmund team, for example, carries out incubator transports and special Impella transports. The Impella transports are flights of patients with severe heart diseases using a cardiac support system. To ensure that mobile medical technology does not run out of power on board, a 230V inverter is used on board “Christoph Dortmund”. Thanks to this voltage converter, a permanent power supply is guaranteed, which serves patient safety: In addition to 12-volt connections, a redundant power supply is available during the flight, which prevents failure of these vital devices due to insufficient battery capacity. “Christoph Dortmund” is also one of the few helicopters in Germany that can carry out transports with a mobile heart-lung machine. The station has coordinated transport concepts with various university hospitals and cardiac centers in North Rhine-Westphalia. As part of the dual-use concept, the helicopter can also be used in emergency rescue. In these cases, the helicopter crew is in the air within two minutes of the alarm.
Between 1989 and 2002 the station was operated by the air ambulance service Westphalia. The flight operations were ensured by various helicopter operators. On July 15, 2012, HSD Luftrettung Gemeinnützige GmbH took over the flight operations, which has also ensured the complete station operation since the beginning of 2003. In 2011, the station building was completely renovated and expanded to include functional, office, lounge and relaxation rooms. As part of the melting of HSD Luftrettung Gemeinnützige GmbH, the station has been operated by the DRF Foundation Luftrettung Gemeinnützige AG since January 1, 2015.
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