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RCP0110_0_Hangar Talk 2/15/10 5:01 PM Page 24
much as possible. For example the data
inputted to the electronic documentation
tool should minimize manual input as
much as possible. Automation simply re-
duces response time. The Toughbook and
all the charting capability is replicated in
Mayo Clinic Medical Transport’s ground
ambulance service (Gold Cross), as well.
With the Toughbook in hand and the
helicopter configured for the mission the
flight crew is ready to launch. It should
be noted that when we talk about config-
ured for the mission that means that
equipment is placed onboard the aircraft
that transforms it into a trauma center ap-
plicable to the patient’s injuries and pre-
liminary diagnosis. It actually replicates
the same equipment that would be found
at the hospitals ER. I was quite surprised
to see that included carrying blood!
On the way out I noticed another piece
of radio equipment in the office area. I
Flight Crew retrieving data for their airborne Panasonic Toughbook computer
asked what it was only to be told that it
was simply a scanner. With the scanner pect after seeing the effort put into this as- pist and nurse who can be tasked to act as
monitoring fire and police frequencies, the pect of the EMS scenario, that speed is the such in cases that require special medical
Mayo crew may get a head start on mis- most critical factor. Another unique thing transports such as pediatric and neonatal
sion requirements as things are reported that I noticed, and it is unique to Mayo, is care. The briefing starts with “threats for
real time, sometimes before any 911 calls their stretcher. the day”. “Threats for the day” typically
or request has been made! Police and Fire An analysis was conducted with the consists of weather, TFRs, maintenance
are dispatched before life flight or ambu- new aircraft coming on board to find out issues with the aircraft, and training pos-
lances. what attributes should be carried into the sibilities. Also covered each day and for
Next up was a quick run through the new aircraft and the stretcher was the pri- each shift are aircraft related emergency
maintenance shop. The most interesting ority item. procedures. One procedure per day per
bit of information that I found out from The Mayo stretcher differs from others shift is reviewed, with the pilot and non-
maintenance was that in 1995 Mayo in that it carries onboard all the vital pilot med flight crew. Each aircraft has an
worked with Honeywell on one of the first equipment (patient monitoring) necessary emergency procedures book with which
autopilots for light helicopters. It was lit- to meet the patient’s medical requirement, all personnel become familiar. Normal
erally taken from a fixed wing aircraft and even during transit from the helicopter to flight operations have one of the med
installed in the BK 117C1. My under- the ER. Also with this system the patient crew seated in the copilot seat prior to
standing was that those tests turned out to does not have to be offloaded from a heli- loading the patient. So in flight, if there
be quite exciting…..enough said! The re- copter stretcher to a hospital one, a defi- were a chip light for instance, the non pi-
sult was that Mayo’s BK 117C1 was ulti- nite benefit for a patient requiring critical lot flight crew person in the front seat
mately certified for single pilot IFR. care. The additional weight has been cal- would pull out the emergency procedures
Needless to say so is the new EC-145. culated and helicopter operation is ad- book, go to the appropriate section and
Next we looked at the heliport and how justed for this. Mayo’s analyses found that read off the emergency procedure check
it connects to the hospital. When the heli- patient care is enhanced with this ap- list for the pilot. This twice a day, 7 days
copter lands and the stretcher removed, proach and as discussed earlier, “patient per week review ultimately covers all the
your entrance in to the hospital is through first” is their priority. procedures in any given month. The non
two large side by side doors that open au- pilot flight crew becomes proficient in air-
tomatically. On the right wall is a large
Medical Flight Ops
craft systems and emergencies. Not a bad
button (priority service) which is de- It was interesting to observe the routine system, and after a very short time, it can
pressed as you go by. By the time you get of the on duty flight crew. The flight crew be said that the non pilot flight crew per-
to the end of the hallway, the elevator it is typically consists of one flight nurse, one sonnel are truly flight crew and not just
waiting for you with the door open. From paramedic and of course the pilot. At the along for the ride! Not only does the non-
the elevator you can get to the Emergency beginning of each shift there is a “shift pilot med crew personnel learn what to do
department, operating rooms, cardiac briefing”. The shift briefing includes the in an emergency, but with this twice a day
catheterization lab, and all of the ICUs. entire flight crew, but it also includes, review they know why and the reasons for
All designed for one thing, speed. I ex- when possible, an ICU respiratory thera- what is happening. The daily briefing and
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