When seconds count, the crew onboard an Air Med helicopter is prepared to safely transport medical emergencies to the nearest hospital or center of care.
Air Med, an Acadian Company, was founded in 1981 in Lafayette. At the time, our area was not served by air ambulance at all. Acadian was fielding many requests for offshore helicopters to go help get injured oilfield workers so an air ambulance service made practical sense.
Air Med now flies 8 helicopters every single day in Louisiana and part of Texas. Locally, we have a station in Houma. Air Med transports patients in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and the entire Gulf of Mexico. Their twin-engine instrument flight rated helicopters allow the medical teams to fly in weather where traditional helicopters cannot. Two pilots, a flight nurse and a flight paramedic man each response mission.
“We get assigned out about 7000 times a year,” explains Marc Creswell, Operations Manager for Air Med Services. “We do an auto launch, meaning even though there’s not enough information at the time of the call to determine of the patient needs air transport, we’ll launch with the info we have. When first responders gets there, they can let is know if the helicopter is or isn’t needed. We are always going ahead of time to save time. Each moment matters.”
The crew on-board is also specially prepared to handle any emergency. “The flight paramedics do have a lot more education for critical patients beyond that of a regular ambulance crew,” shares Marc. “They also do training quarterly and annually that the FAA requires.”
Over the years, technology has proven to be a lifesaver for patients in their most critical moments. “For example, way back when we were not able to do 12-lead EKGs,” says Marc. “Now not only can we do them, but we can transmit via satellite to the hospital. So on the scene of a call, we can satellite uplink the information and the physician can see exactly what’s going on with the patient.”