Critical Care Capabilities

All West Michigan Air Care flights are staffed with experienced critical care registered nurses who are also licensed paramedics. This dual licensing prepares them for the occurrence of pre-hospital scene responses as well as complicated inter-hospital air medical transports.

All our medical personnel obtain certification and advanced training in areas specific to air medical transport. This training sharpens their assessment skills and enhances their clinical judgment. Air Care requires extensive continuing education for all their medical crew members with case reviews, surgical labs, scenario testing and lectures by visiting physicians. Since over one third of our patients require airway management, the medical crew spends a significant amount of their training time on airway concerns. Difficult airway situations are a particular focus using evidence-based research to guide our decision-making for specialized airway equipment and medications.

Our flight nurses maintain certification in ACLS, PALS, NRP, and Transport Nurse Advanced Trauma Course (TNATC). They also achieve Certified Registered Flight Nurse (CFRN) status within two years of employment at Air Care. Our medical personnel are recognized as instructors in many of these programs as well.

Our aircraft is completely configured for critical care transports. We are equipped with ZOLL X Series monitor/defibrillator capable of monitoring standard heart tracings, 12-lead EKG diagnostics, biphasic defibrillation, transcutaneous pacing, waveform capnography, and monitoring of 3 concurrent invasive lines. We utilize the GlideScope Go video laryngoscopy system for advanced airway management. Other transport equipment and resources include, but are not limited to: the Hamilton T1 ventilator, Clarius portable ultrasound device, EPOC (Point-of-Care) Blood Analysis System, 3% Hypertonic Saline used to treat severe brain injury, and multiple vasoactive medication infusions routinely used for blood pressure management in critically ill patients.  Whole blood or packed red blood cells (PRBC's), liquid plasma and Tranexamic Acid (TXA), is taken on every flight and used for transfusions and life threatening bleeding when indicated for trauma or other conditions.

The medical crews recognize the clinical and emotional investment that referring professionals have in their patients. Because of this investment, our medical crews remain sensitive to the need for respect and cooperation, in addition to skill during the transition of patient care. This sensitivity fosters a partnership among our referring agencies that focuses on providing optimal care and compassion to the patient.