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Grand Island introduces air medical service
A new medical emergency service in Grand Island may mean the difference between life or death for some area patients. The LifeTeam air ambulance started service today.
News 5's Lauren Conley got a first-hand look at the helicopter that operates 24-7.
They staff crews at the Central Nebraska Regional airport at all times.
There's even living quarters, so crews can be ready at a moment's notice.
"We operate in the per se, time is everything," said Director of Program Development Michael Johnson.
The average take off time is just five and a half minutes. It's a quick response for dangerous situations.
"A car wreck on interstate 80, we would actually be dispatched at the same time like Grand Island fire, going towards the patient just like they are, as a tool for the patient," said Johnson.
The inside is like a compact hospital.
"Patient care is actually the part that's most straightforward," flight paramedic Joe Wiebold.
I got a first hand look at how the LifeTeam crew operates with a flight of my own.
"You throw in the helicopter, the fact that the pilot has to talk to our dispatch, air traffic control, we have to talk to each other, we have to communicate with the pilot," said Wiebold. "We have to talk to the patient, the safety involved when you land, somebody's got to watch the tail rotor. There's just so much more involved in it."
The LifeTeam helicopter services a 90 mile radius and 36 hospitals and for some of the patients that can mean the difference between life and death.
"What we really feel is, if you decide to live your life in a rural setting ... You should actually have access to that tertiary care, just like anybody else in that urban setting," said Johnson.
Air transportation takes about a third of time compared to ground transportation.
"What we continue is an extension of the local EMS and/ or critical access hospital," Johnson said.
LifeTeam has been speaking with local hospitals about the service.
Johnson says the CEO of one is grateful for they're coming to the area.
"Got emotional and he said, you have no idea how many lives this is going to save, and it's like, we do," said Johnson.
LifeTeam is an independent medical transport service. They're dispatched through 9-1-1 and work with all area hospitals.
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