“Time to the hospital” is not the only consideration when choosing between air and ground transport. “Time to stabilization” is also very important for any critical patient’s outcome. Our flight nurses have the ability to perform rapid sequence inductions (RSI), give blood and tranexamic acid (TXA) for hypovolemic shock, administer medications to reduce intracranial pressure, and provide many other vitally important interventions otherwise reserved for the first 15 minutes in the emergency department. Short of surgery, our crew provides stabilization measures on scene and en route similar to the emergency department that can make a life-or-death difference.
No ground unit in Southwest Michigan has as much consistent training and extensive protocols to cover the emergent needs of patients.
When you call Air Care, you’ll get TWO highly trained critical care nurses (who are also paramedics) to assist you. We operate from frequently updated critical care protocols and procedures that are targeted to maintain adequate vital signs while providing interventions such as:
Stabilization is combined with speed, and the flight nurses will take the time to stabilize the patient before and during transport, completing therapies demanded by the patient’s condition or those ordered by the receiving physician. In other words, Air Care doesn’t just transfer patients; we can halt the progression of acute illnesses and injuries because we have the protocols and experience to do so.
Air Care stocks a large number of medications on board, almost all of which are not used by ground EMS. Depending on patient requirements, our critical care nurses may request medications from the hospital that are not listed here:
Weekly airway skill training: intubation practice rotations that include direct laryngoscopy, AirTraq, and our own Glidescope. Training also includes basic airway skills and supraglottic rescue airways like laryngeal mask airways (LMAs.)
Education meetings twice monthly: includes case reviews, guest physician speakers, protocol reviews, scenario training, and surgical skills labs for chest tube placement and surgical airways.
Ongoing clinical experience: consistently transporting the sickest patients provides ongoing familiarity with targeted therapies.
Air Care’s medical director, Dr. Glenn S. Ekblad, D.O., is arguably one of the most involved medical directors of any aeromedical agency. He devotes considerable time to the training and development of the eleven flight nurses that operate under his license. The medical crew is responsible for updating protocols and procedures with current evidence-based medicine, and reading assigned journal articles and studies that affect our scope of practice.
There is no one better to call than Air Care when a critical patient needs transport. For assistance in determining appropriate patients to fly, see our Fly Guides at www.aircare.org.