MedStar helping increase the odds of survival one patient at a time

Author: Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: May 11 2012 06:35:17 PM PDT   Updated On: May 11 2012 06:58:05 PM PDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Inland Northwest residents love the great outdoors but sometimes far flung adventures can become disasters and your best chance of survival is a Northwest MedStar helicopter.

When MedStar is dispatched to a crash the crew does more than just airlift a patient. Besides the flight crew, which can lift you to a hospital at a cool 135 miles an hour, there's an intensive care nurse who can administer medications and a respiratory therapist to make sure you keep breathing.

"It's a combination of rapid movement of the patient to hospital-based care as well as provision of critical care during the transport that makes the most difference," Northwest MedStar Medical Director Dr. Jim Nania said.

In fact studies show a patient transported aboard helicopters like MedStar's has a 16-percent better chance of survival. That includes people who've been involved in crashes but also someone suffering from a stroke or heart attack.

"That's the main thing we have to bring is we get on scene, start the ICU / ER level of care, stabilize the patient and then get them to where they need the follow up care," Eveline Bisson with Northwest MedStar said.

Local fire departments call for MedStar when they find their patients in critical condition but you can make it easier for the helicopter to find your cabin or farm by pre-registering that location with MedStar dispatch.

"If we know where we are going and we know who we are going after. We know it's an area that's already been cleared, we have GPS coordinates to get in there. It's going to be a faster response because we're not flying around trying to find a place to land," Eveline Bisson said.

Some health insurance companies only cover 80-percent of MedStar bills but with a $59 a year membership you can avoid any out of pocket expenses.

For more information on Northwest MedStar click here.