He­li­copter trans­port con­sis­tent

Modern Healthcare - - OPINIONS LETTERS -

The ar­ti­cle “Care up in the air” (Mod­ern Health­care, July 23, p. 30), made ref­er­ence to a re­cent study that stated adult trauma pa­tients trans­ported to trauma cen­ters had a 16% greater chance of sur­vival when trans­ported by he­li­copter. The lat­est study num­bers stated in the ar­ti­cle are in line with the five-year an­nual stud­ies done from 1979 through 1983 and pub­lished in the Novem­ber 1983 edition of Hospi­tal Avi­a­tion. The data demon­strated a range in the per­cent­age of pa­tients who oth­er­wise might have died with­out the he­li­copter trans­port to be 11.7% (1979); 16.4% (1980); 15% (1981); 22.9% (1982); and 20% (1983).

Re­con­firm­ing the data gen­er­ated nearly 30 years ago demon­strates the con­sis­tency of pa­tient-care value from the early days of he­li­copter pro­gram de­vel­op­ment. The pi­o­neers of he­li­copter trans­port were con­vinced of the pa­tient ben­e­fits. When cou­pled with what were then still-fresh Viet­nam ex­pe­ri­ences of rapid trans­porta­tion for skilled, de­fin­i­tive care, the health­care lead­ers found an easy con­clu­sion to ben­e­fit the com­mu­ni­ties they served.

It is nice to see that what was found early has been reval­i­dated af­ter more than 30 years of air op­er­a­tions na­tion­ally and that the health­care in­dus­try, along with the pro­fes­sion­als as­so­ci­ated with the he­li­copter am­bu­lance pro­grams, con­tin­ues to achieve the pa­tient-care re­sults of sav­ing lives and re­duc­ing mor­bid­ity. J. Craig Hona­man

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