ORMC’s Air Care Team soars to new heights, transports 28,000th patient

Learn about the Air Care Team’s 30 years of impressive service.


Sabrina Childress
[email protected]

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 13, 2013) - The Orlando Regional Medical Center Air Care Team reached a higher altitude, transporting its 28,000th patient in May. The only hospital-based multiple aircraft flight program in the area, the Air Care Team uses three twin engine helicopters based in three counties – Lake, Osceola and Seminole to provide communities faster access to specialized care.
“Our 28,000th patient milestone reflects nearly 30 years of commitment to excellence and safety in the field and in transport,” said Karen Thurmond, chief flight nurse, Air Care Team. “Our 24-member medical crew is one of the highest credentialed flight crews in the state.”
The Air Care Team met the mark  flying more than 1.8 million accident-free rescue mission miles. The Air Care Team averages 100 to 120 flights per month, providing care to patients with injuries related to motor vehicle crashes,
Highly trained and experienced flight nurses, flight paramedics, communications specialists, pilots and mechanics make up the crews that provide advanced medical care on the scene and in flight.
“Our 24-member medical crew is one of the highest credentialed flight crews in the state,” said Thurmond.
The Air Care Team responds directly to scenes of accidents and transports critically ill patients between hospitals.
“Sixty percent of our patients are flown directly from the scene of an incident to the Level 1 Trauma Center at ORMC,” said Mikel Dirks, chief flight paramedic, Air Care Team. “The remaining forty percent are transported from other hospitals to the specialized services offered at ORMC.”
The crew’s primary scene response calls are for motor vehicle incidents. Other calls include electrical injuries, falls and hospital to hospital transports for acute cardiac and stroke care, and other specialized services provided by Orlando Regional Medical Center.
In the air, each on-board team is comprised of a flight nurse, a flight paramedic and a pilot. On the ground, the Air Care Team’s communications specialists use state-of-the-art tools to perform the critical role of dispatching calls and sharing and receiving information from the medical crew and ORMC’s Level One trauma center.  
The Air Care Team began providing medical services in 1984 with a single helicopter and has grown to three. Air Care Team’s service area encompasses a 100-mile radius that covers 15 plus counties including Orange, Brevard, Citrus, Lake, Marion, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia, Sumter.
Air Methods Corporation, which has been a leader in providing air medical transportation services to the health care industry for 33 years, provides the aviation services to Orlando Regional’s Air Care Team. 
“Air Methods is honored to partner with the Air Care Team and we extend our congratulations on this terrific milestone,” said Ed Rupert, senior vice president, Eastern Operations, Air Methods. “This accomplishment is a wonderful testament to their commitment to quality patient care and safety in aviation operations.”