Wichita’s EagleMed could lose its accreditation after it suffered its third accident in the past three years, the Sandy Springs, S.C.-based Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) notified the company on June 13. The most recent crash occurred June 11 near the Choctaw Nation Health Care Center in Tulihina, Okla. A patient aboard the helicopter died after the accident, but details are still unclear as to whether the death was a direct result of the crash.
Emergency medical services in the United States
Contrary to the hopes of most French helicopter EMS operators, French doctors have issued a motion calling for the soon-to-be-mandatory second flight crewmember to be a trained paramedic. New rules at the European level will mandate such a second crewmember, for some operations, beginning in October next year.
The National EMS Pilots Association (Nemspa) is taking nominations for its 2012 pilot of the year. Nominations can be made at www.nemspa.org through September 1. The award will be presented at the Air Medical Transport Conference in Seattle this October.
Prompt access to air ambulances can significantly improve the survival odds of stroke patients, according to a recently released University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study. The research found that 45 percent of Americans–135 million people–are more than an hour away from primary stroke centers, the facilities best equipped to care for them if they are stricken by the condition. Less than a quarter of U.S.
Nearly since the first U.S.-based emergency medical services (EMS) flight operation was performed in the early 1970s, controversy has swirled around the practice. In battlefield conditions, where the dangers were more clear cut and the issue nearly always one of life and death, questions on the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of EMS flights are rarely raised.
Since 1992 Medic’Air International of Paris has been providing medical assistance with air-ambulance flights and medical escorts on airlines worldwide. The company is an independent medical provider created by emergency physicians.
Boise, Idaho-based Aviation Specialties Unlimited has installed night-vision goggles in Reach Air Medical Services’ Agusta A109, Bell 407 and BO 105 fleet. Chief pilot Vicky Spediacci said that Reach, based at Santa Rosa, Calif., put its crews through an FAA-approved structured and specific training program provided by the equipment supplier.
Jeff Hensel leaves the same voicemail every July 23. “Today is the anniversary of my accident,” the 25-year-old Northern Illinois resident reminds people, as if those listening might actually forget that day in 1999 when his car slammed into a tree. “If it weren’t for Flight For Life and a lot of people who took care of me, I would not be here today.”
Helicopter operators flying air medical operations have always had a keen interest in safety, but a spike in accident and fatality statistics in the last five years has intensified concern throughout the industry. Representatives from a number of helicopter EMS task forces gathered in Dallas recently to discuss procedures for improving the safety of their operations.
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