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How Memorial MedFlight saves lives

You’ve seen medical helicopters fly overhead and likely wondered what and where the emergency is. For Memorial MedFlight, the emergency can be anything, anywhere in our region. But the goal is the same: get patients to the best care available, as safely quickly as possible.

Memorial MedFlight overhead

When time is not on a patient’s side

For more than 15 years, Memorial MedFlight has flown patients to the advanced care they need to save their lives. Each year, about 300 patients fly within Memorial MedFlight’s 150-mile range. That range includes Beacon’s trauma center and systems in Chicago, Indianapolis, Kalamazoo and even St. Louis.

“We provide transport across the entire lifespan for our patients,” says Mark Berger, Transport Outreach Coordinator at Beacon Health System. This includes everyone from tiny NICU patients to seniors. MedFlight responds to accidents and traumatic injuries and also transports patients from one hospital to another.

These patients don’t have time on their side. And time barriers decrease survival odds. That’s why MedFlight is crucial. “We bring speed – speed and high professionalism. Having land barriers takes away from the speed aspect,” says Berger. “When we transport a patient from Beacon Children’s Hospital and want to go to Riley, it’s 55 to 60 minutes, depending on wind. A three-hour drive turns into a one-hour flight.” Those two extra hours can mean the difference between life and death.

In addition to speed, the helicopter is staffed by medical experts with a variety of skills. “Our flight configuration is a certified flight paramedic, certified flight nurse and a pilot trained in IFR – instrument flight rules. We can safely fly in the clouds when the conditions are not optimal. That’s an option we offer to customers that others don’t.”

These services get local patients advanced care as quickly and safely as possible. But what’s the difference between Memorial MedFlight and other helicopter services?

The non-profit difference at Beacon

Rodney Logan, RN, BSN, CMTE, Mobile Patient Care & Transport Director, explains that for-profit air transport services charge two to three times more than Beacon’s non-profit service. “We’re not about the money; we’re about the patients,” he says.

Patient-centered care is why Memorial MedFlight prioritizes safety above all else. “Our helicopters have two engines, safety redundancies and cutting-edge technology. This is for weather awareness, terrain avoidance, night vision and even satellite tracking and communications,” says Logan.

This means Memorial MedFlight exceeds all safety standards set in the industry. “We have the most current safety equipment available. Our flight crew maintains the highest level of certifications available within the air medical industry,” Berger says. “They’re what makes us as safe as we can be for the crew and the community that we serve.”

While price and quality set Memorial MedFlight apart, the people do, too. “I feel like we represent the best of our industry,” Logan says. “We have very high standards concerning baseline knowledge, performance, ongoing advancement in careers … I’m very proud of this. We’ve got the best people who work hard and take care of patients in their most vulnerable days.”

Learn more about Memorial MedFlight.

About Keeley Higley