Helicopter transport consistent
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
Principal H&H Consulting Partners