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First Responders: PHI Air Medical

Published: Nov. 22, 2020 at 8:57 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Critical care is a necessity for someone in a bad situation like a car wreck.

Getting to a hospital in a timely manner can be almost impossible, especially in a rural area. That’s where a flight medical team comes in handy.

They can land just about anywhere and cut the travel time to less than half that of an ambulance ride.

“We can do surgical procedures that don’t fit into the protocol of ground ambulances. We can carry triple the drugs and blood products,” Flight Paramedic Garrett Lide said.

The carrying of blood on the aircraft adds an entirely new benefit to someone experiencing trauma.

“When they know that they’re bleeding, it’s best to put back the blood,” Patrick Kirkland, M.D. explained. “Studies show that it’s better than just putting back what they would have, like regular IV fluid, if the blood was not available. I believe that is going to translate to better outcomes for the patients in our communities.”

Carrying blood on the helicopter is a little tricky. It’s constantly rotated. Blood does expire and before that happens they give it back to Rush so it can be used. The blood is temperature controlled and monitored constantly.

“We keep it in a cooler for 12 hours at a time. It stays at 5 degrees Celsius. We keep it by the door and ready to go. We carry two units of red blood cells and two units of plasma,” Lide explained. “It’s regulated through several different thermometers. Some are internal and some are external, so that we can keep our blood in here.”

The helicopter is basically a flying hospital room, but it’s the team inside of the aircraft that makes all the difference. The pilot and two flight paramedics check the helicopter before every flight, help with landing in tough spots and, of course, save lives all in the same flight.

First Responders airs on Sundays on Newscenter 11 at 10.

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