In severe accidents, a helicopter medical crew is necessary to save lives. Arch Air Medical works closely with St. Louis fire, EMS and local low enforcement. They let the news crew from KSDK to follow them around to get a feel for what they do.
Because they are in the business of saving lives, time is of the essence. The pilot of the helicopter has no medical training. He explained that it is more beneficial this way because he can focus all his attention on flying the helicopter without getting emotionally involved.
The types of patients they have to transport range from a critically injured child to a drunken adult trying to put up a fight. The back of the helicopter is designed to carry up to five adults. When a patient isn’t being cooperative, it can become quite difficult for the medical team. Patients have tried to pull out their IV or other medical equipment. If a patient is drunk or high on drugs, they can become very frightening. Sometimes they try to unfasten their seat belt wanting to escape the aircraft. This is truly a scary thought considering the aircraft flies about 1,500 feet in the air.
Unruly patients are not the only worry for the aircraft medical team. St. Louis weather can be unpredictable at times. During thunderstorms and severe high winds, it becomes extremely dangerous for them to fly. Even the FFA likes to put up walls that become obstacles for the aircraft to get around.
The aircraft medical team explained that during the summer time, the crew will transport on average about four people a day. However, during the winter time, they will only transport about two a day.
Landing the aircraft presents yet another challenge for the medical team. The landing areas on each hospital range in sizes, so it can be a hard to adjust. Depending on where they are initially picking up the patient, it can be hard to figure out how to ground the aircraft. Patients could be suffering on the ground for a few minutes before the aircraft finally lands.
Only naturally, the air service is expensive. A flight can be as costly as $30,000, but you can’t really put a price on saving a life.
The pilot told KSDK that he receives many calls from past patients and their families. People will give him updates on the patient’s current status and thank him for transporting the patient.
Arch Air Medical has been in business since 1979. Since its inception, they have opened a total of seven within the Missouri and Illinois area.
Of course, not every medical emergency will require a medical aircraft. If you are experiencing symptoms that aren’t severe, visit a local urgent care center. The doctors at Las Vegas Urgent Care can provide quality medical care without making you wait a long time. There is no appointment necessary, and they take most insurances. For more information about quick cares in Las Vegas, contact 702.852.2000.