Jef­fSTAT opens he­li­copter hangar

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pete Ban­nan pban­nan@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @pe­te­ban­nan on Twit­ter

Brandy­wine Hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials along with lo­cal emer­gency med­i­cal crews and Jef­fer­son Health of­fi­cials gathered to cel­e­brate Mon­day as Jef­fSTAT cut the rib­bon on its new he­li­copter hangar on hos­pi­tal grounds.

At the rib­bon cut­ting, Brandy­wine CEO Jeff Hunt dis­cussed the his­tory of air med­i­cal ser­vice at Brandy­wine, which started in 1983 with AeroMedix, one of the first air med­i­cal pro­grams in south­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia. The ser­vice be­came SkyF­light Care be­fore be­ing dis­con­tin­ued in 2011 when Brandy­wine’s trauma unit closed.

The Jef­fSTAT air am­bu­lance was es­tab­lished at Brandy­wine in late 2014 but just now is able to oc­cupy the hangar, which un­der­went sev­eral hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars worth of ren­o­va­tions and code im­prove­ments, ac­cord­ing to Hunt. The ser­vice runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Ev­ery­thing we’ve done is for safety,” said Guy Bar­ber, di­rec­tor of Jef­fSTAT. “This hangar al­lows main­te­nance crews safe con­di­tions to work on the he­li­copter and when the tones go off, crews are ready to go.”

The build­ing in­cludes meet­ing rooms and overnight quar-

ters for the flight crew.

Bar­ber also pointed out that Jef­fSTAT is us­ing a new 2016 he­li­copter at Brandy­wine. The Air­bus H130, is owned by Air Meth­ods, provider of over 300 op­er­a­tions in 48 states. Air Meth­ods also pro­vides and trains the he­li­copter pilot.

Bar­ber said the new he­li­copter has flown 197 pa­tients and that Jef­fSTAT has flown 554 pa­tients since re-in­sti­tut­ing the ser­vice at Brandy­wine. He pointed out that many of the flights in­volved bring­ing pa­tients to Brandy­wine for ad­vanced care.

At the rib­bon cut­ting Jef­fSTAT of­fi­cials pre­sented Hunt with a model replica of the he­li­copter.

A unique as­pect of the new air am­bu­lance is pa­tient po­si­tion­ing. The Air­bus po­si­tions the pa­tient in the front of the he­li­copter, feet first next to the pilot. A nurse and para­medic sit in the mid­dle of the he­li­copter at the pa­tient’s head.

“It took a lit­tle ad­just­ment, but I like it,” said flight nurse Larry Hepp when asked about the pa­tient place­ment. Hepp has been a nurse on the he­li­copter for three years.

“Pa­tients ac­tu­ally like it,” said pilot Jim Plzak, “Com­ing in to land they get a great view.”

Bar­ber thanked the Chester County and the lo­cal emer­gency med­i­cal and fires for their as­sis­tance in get­ting the pro­gram run­ning. Among the EMS units in at­ten­dance were, Brandy­wine Hos­pi­tal paramedics, West­wood, Coatesville VA and Wash­ing­ton Hose Com­pany.


Guy Bar­ber, di­rec­tor of Jef­fSTAT, speaks at the he­li­copter hangar ded­i­ca­tion at Brandy­wine Hos­pi­tal on Mon­day.


Pilot Jim Plzak demon­strates pa­tient load­ing to Brandy­wine RN Cathy Case.

Cut­ting the rib­bon on the new Jef­fSTAT he­li­copter hanger are; Guy Bar­ber, pro­gram di­rec­tor, John Rous­sis, physi­cian li­ai­son, Brandy­wine CEO Jeff Hunt, Amy Mee­han, di­rec­tor of emer­gency ser­vices at Brandy­wine Hos­pi­tal, Ray Birk­mire, base su­per­vi­sor, Paul Paul­son, vice pres­i­dent at Air Meth­ods, Bernie Reynolds, avi­a­tion di­rec­tor at Air Meth­ods, Leo Scac­cia RN, and Brian Sweeney, vice pres­i­dent at Jef­fer­son Hos­pi­tal.


Brandy­wine Hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials along with lo­cal emer­gency med­i­cal crews and Thomas Jef­fer­son Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials turned out Mon­day to cel­e­brate as Jef­fStat cut the rib­bon on its new he­li­copter hangar at Brandy­wine Hos­pi­tal Mon­day.


Brandy­wine Hos­pi­tal CEO Jeff Hunt speaks at the Jef­fSTAT he­li­copter hangar ded­i­ca­tion at Brandy­wine Hos­pi­tal Mon­day.

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