Think of using SkyLife when time is of the essence and/or the level of care required exceeds that of ground personnel. Some of the patients that may benefit from air transport are: significant trauma/surgical emergencies, head injured patients, medical patients that require immediate intervention, and cardiac and stroke patients for time dependent therapy.
Generally, helicopter travel time in the valley is on a 2:1 ratio (40 minutes by ground = 20 minutes by air).
In mountainous terrain the ratio is approximately 4:1 ratio (40 minutes by ground = 10 minutes by air) due to the aircraft's speed and direct path. Rendezvous points can be used to limit on scene times with critical patients.
Helicopters can be limited by weather conditions, particularly in the foggy winter months. The visibility is the determining factor for our helicopter's response.
Considerations for Air Medical Transport of Trauma Patients (As Outlined by AAMS)
- Lengthy extrication of the patient from the accident site and the severity of the patient's injury requires delivery of critical care team to the accident site.
- Structural intrusion of the patient's space in the vehicle.
- Patient ejected from the vehicle.
- Pedestrian struck at over 20 mph.
- Unrestrained occupant of a vehicle rollover.
- Motorcycle accident at speeds greater than 20 mph.
- Front bumper of the vehicle displaced more than 30 inches to the rear, or rearward displacement of the front axle.
- Fall from a height of greater than 20 feet.
- Penetrating injury anywhere from mid-thigh and above.
- Amputation or near amputation.
- Scalping or degloving injury.
- Severe loss of blood.
- Burns greater than 15% BSA, or burns to face, hands, or perineum.
- Injury with neurological deficits.
- Unstable or potentially unstable airway (Potential for rapid sequence induction intubation).
- GCS less than 8 or a Trauma Score of less than 14.
- Age less than 5 or older than 55 with multiple trauma.
- Adult with respiratory rate less than 10 or more than 30, and/or heart rate less than 60 or more than 120.
Considerations for Air Transport of Medical/Surgical Patients (As Outlined by AAMS)
- Status post cardiac arrest (within 24 hours) patients or acute MI patients
- Unstable vital signs or titrating vasoactive infusions
- Requires mechanical ventilation
- Unstable airway
- Anti-dysrhythmia medications or temporary pacemaker to maintain cardiac stability
- Acute deterioration of mental status, including the stroke patient
- Immediate invasive therapy required at a hospital
- Indwelling arterial and central venous lines
- Organ transplant patients
- Invasive, therapeutic, and/or diagnostic services not available at a referring facility
- Uncontrolled seizures