“Three Souls” – Bev Meade, MSN, RN, MHA, CEN, CCRN, CFRN, CTRN, TCRN, EMT-P. Flight Nurse, MedFlight 3.
Our pilot completed his safety checklist and risk assessment, and contacted our Columbus, Ohio, Communications Center with the first radio traffic of the morning: “MedComm, this is MedFlight 3. We have 3 souls, 1 hour 30 minutes in fuel, 8 minute ETA.”. This radio transmission is always given before we lift from our helipad to begin our mission. The response was as expected from our experienced Communication Specialists watching over all of us… they monitor us flying and driving our patients “to and fro” for this company. They acknowledged us with “Copy MedFlight 3… 3 souls, 1 hour 30 minutes in fuel, 8 minute ETA”, and we lifted into the cool, pre-dawn calm with our Night Vision Goggles (NVG’s) down and activated.
Our mission was to transport a patient with an ST -elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) from a rural area in Ohio to the closest cardiac interventional facility… rapidly, efficiently, and safely. As we landed at the remote landing zone (LZ), we did as we were taught and as we have done hundreds of times on landing… We focused our attention outside diligently, looking through and around the NVG’s for hazards that could mean disaster for the “three souls” on board.
Safety is and has always been a top priority for my company, and I am thankful that we are recognized as one of the most safety-conscious critical-care transport organizations in the state. We communicated succinctly with the local fire department at the LZ, and were acutely aware that our safe landing could mean the difference between life and death for our patient, whom we have yet to meet, and, of course, for us as well. Even though the “three souls” on board have thousands of safe arrivals, each landing and takeoff still makes me alert, tensed, & ever-vigilant for the unseen hazards that we all know are out there.
“MedComm, MedFlight 3. We’re ‘skids down’ safely” is what we all wanted to hear, and that is exactly what transpired. As usual, I thanked my pilot for a safe landing and waited until the blades came to a complete stop before exiting the aircraft to retrieve the necessary equipment, supplies, and of course… my paramedic! As we walked to the waiting EMS vehicle, I contemplated what we might find, what might need to be done quickly, and what a difference we can make in this person’s life.
After assessing and placing appropriate monitoring equipment on our patient, we departed the EMS vehicle in under 7 minutes to rapidly load & secure our patient for the lifesaving transport he desperately needed. Our pilot once more pierced the airwaves with “MedComm, MedFlight 3. Lifting from scene with 4 souls, 1 hour 20 minutes in fuel, 30 minute ETA” and we departed the rural hills of Ohio for the center of the state, where critical interventions awaited this patient.
After arriving at the receiving hospital and transporting the patient to the cardiac catherization lab, we became “3 souls” again… the team of 3 who answer the call of duty, who respond without hesitation to help the sick and injured, whose life’s work and studies have led each soul to this place, at this time. And I know that there are others just like us at MedFlight around the nation that are awake at 0200, answering the incoming radio or telephone call, responding just as quickly and safely to save the life of another soul.
The mission was completed, the cardiac vessel reopened, and the patient was recovering to resume his life in southeastern Ohio. As each of the “three souls” completed the post-flight tasks, readying the aircraft for the flight home… me completing the patient care chart and sending it to the receiving facility, the medic restocking the aircraft for another mission if needed, and our pilot refueling for the flight home or to another destination as needed… I paused for a moment to consider what we had just accomplished. All of us played a part in the outcome of this patient: Family, EMS, our Communication Center, all of our ancillary personnel, the flight crew, and receiving facility… Each entity relying on the other to do their jobs and save a life.
As we were enroute to our base, I considered the new day dawning as the sunrise peaked above the hills of southeastern Ohio where I call home. I announced “goggles up”, and I contemplated how each of us have a pivotal role in this mission. I am still in awe after 20 years serving others in critical-care transport how all of this happens almost seamlessly to improve the outcome of our patients. But, perhaps, more importantly… I looked to the right toward my medic, and in front of me to my pilot, and I am thankful that each one of the “three souls” are where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to do, and that each of us bear the burden of safety and excellent patient care and quality transport so that we can hear once more “MedComm, MedFlight 3 is safe on deck with three souls” as we land at our helipad… Mission accomplished.
MedFlight and Healthnet Aeromedical Services Extend Partnership with SOMC
Portsmouth, OH. Ohio-based MedFlight and West Virginia-based Healthnet Aeromedical Services are proud to announce the extension of their Preferred Provider Agreement with Southern Ohio Medical Center through 2020.
Healthnet Aeromedical Services 4 / MedFlight 7 is a shared critical-care air medical base located at the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport and recently celebrated 10-years of service in Scioto County. Their current provider partnership with SOMC has been in place since the inception of the base and was re-signed in 2014.
“We’re honored to have the full confidence of the leaders and staff at Southern Ohio Medical Center. We share a wonderful relationship with them and are pleased to have the opportunity to extend it through the end of the decade and beyond,” said Healthnet Aeromedical Services CEO Clinton Burley.
Healthnet Aeromedical Services 4 / MedFlight 7 provides air medical transport from remote scenes as well as from area hospitals 24/7, 365 days-a-year. The flight teams have many years of experience transporting adult, pediatric, and neonatal patients reliant on ICU-level expertise, equipment and medicine. The team also carries blood and fresh plasma on the aircraft.
“We’re humbled to be part of the Scioto County community and proud we can provide excellent service to the residents in Southern Ohio in their greatest times of need. It’s truly an honor that SOMC trusted us to continue to serve them as their air medical provider of choice”, stated MedFlight President Tom Allenstein. “We’re looking forward to working together with the Southern Ohio Medical Center to better patient outcomes for years to come.”
Remote scene safety is important from the very beginning… and that includes securing a safe landing zone (LZ) for our helicopters. Our healthcare partners can arrange for a Landing Zone Lecture, offering continuing education credit, while enhancing safety and familiarity with our helicopter. Note: Multiple department/agency lectures are encouraged.
Click here to request a Landing Zone Lecture for your location: https://outreach.medflight.com/requests/frmlz.aspx
***Landing Zone Setup***
LZ area should be free of obstructions. Eliminate these hazards:
– Wires (surrounding the landing area and High Tension power lines within 1/2 mile)
– Towers (TV, Radio, Cellular within 1/2 mile)
– Signs and Poles
LZ area should be 100′ X 100′ if possible.
LZ should have as little of a slope as possible (less than 5 degrees).
LZ area should be a hard surface (concrete, asphalt, gravel, lawns, etc.).
LZ corners should be marked with highly visible devices (cones, flairs, strobes).
No debris on landing surface and within 100′ of landing area.
Land the helicopter(s) a safe distance from the scene/patient.
Never point bright lights directly at the aircraft!
Maintain security of LZ while helicopter is present.
Landing Zone Briefing
Type of LZ surface and size
How LZ is marked (cones, flairs, strobes, etc.)
All noted obstructions (see list above)
Never assume flight crew will see a hazard!
Never approach the helicopter unless directed by the flight crew!
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