The hospital affiliated multiple aircraft flight program marks a milestone in meeting the community’s growing needs.
Orlando, FL (October 14, 2019) – For decades the Orlando Health Air Care Team has provided on-scene and in-flight care, improving access to care for critically ill and injured patients across Central Florida. The area’s only emergency medical helicopter affiliated with a Level I trauma center, the Air Care Team celebrates 35 years of service this October.
The flight program began with a single twin engine helicopter located at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) and has grown to three twin engine helicopters across Central Florida — Kissimmee (Air Care 1), Leesburg (Air Care 2) and Longwood (Air Care 3). Since it began in 1984 the flight program has soared to more than 2.4 million accident-free miles, and transported more than 37,000 patients.
“We recognize and honor the people and efforts that have brought us to this place today,” said Taryn Capasso, RN, BSN, NREMT-P, CFRN, manager, Air Care Team. “It’s our history and a great source of pride. In the same respect, it is also an extremely exciting time to be in Air Care and we look forward to the many possibilities and endeavors of serving our community now and in the years to come.”
The primary incidents the Air Care Team responds to are motor vehicle crashes, falls, motorcycle crashes, all-terrain vehicle crashes and strokes.
“We are always looking at ways and opportunities to better serve the needs of our community,” said Capasso “Recently we added emergency blood transfusion service in-flight or on-scene to adult and pediatric patients with life-threatening bleeding, while continuing use of tranexamic acid (a medication to help control bleeding and stabilize patients. We not only educate and train team members to be proficient in these measures, we additionally train with our fire and emergency medical services (EMS) partners to support seamless patient transitions to hospitals and better clinical outcome.”
In addition to answering the call to incidents on-scene, the air medical team also provides hospital transfers.
“The Air Care Team provides a unique medical service bringing critical care support to communities in the fastest way possible and expanding the opportunity for specialty care offered at hospitals,” said Christopher Hunter, MD, medical director, Air Care Team.
The 55 member crew is comprised of highly trained and experienced flight nurses, flight paramedics, communications specialists, pilots and mechanics. The air medical flight team is one of the highest credentialed teams in the state. Air Care Team’s service area encompasses a 50-mile radius that covers multiple counties across Central Florida including Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Sumter, Polk, Volusia, Brevard, and Marion Counties.
“The latest technologies, evidence based treatments, and state-of-the-art equipment allows us to perform life-saving interventions faster and more efficiently with greater success,” said Michael Talento, MS, NRP, CCEMT-P, FP-C, chief flight paramedic, Air Care Team. “Together with advances in education with simulation, our team remains ready to treat and transport the most complex sick and critically injured patients.”
Inside each helicopter, the in-flight team consists of a flight nurse, a flight paramedic and a pilot. Stationed on the ground, the Air Care Team’s communications specialists use state-of-the-art technology to dispatch calls, track the helicopters, and share and receive information from the medical crew and the Level One Trauma Center at Orlando Health ORMC.
“Our communications center is an integral part of what we do,” said Ty Campbell, BSN, RN, EMT-P, CCRN CEN, chief flight nurse, Air Care Team. “For every response, the first call facilitates everything we do. Our communications specialists manage the initial calls from EMS and other hospitals, delivering patient information to the in-flight team so we are able to efficiently reach patients and begin care. The communications center also remains in contact with the in-flight team, serving as a safety net, ensuring we have what we need.”
Air Methods, a leader in providing emergency air medical services to the health care industry for 39 years, provides the aviation services to the Air Care Team.
“Air Methods is honored to be a part of the Air Care family and are proud of the entire team’s work to ensure that the people and communities in the Orlando region have access to emergency air medical services when they need it,” said Jeff See, senior vice president of Customer Experience, Air Methods. “Thirty-five years of service is a testament to the commitment that Orlando Health and Air Methods have to the region and we look forward to continuing to work with local officials EMS agencies and fire departments to ensure that our services are efficient and effective.”
About Orlando Health
Orlando Health is a $3.8 billion not-for-profit healthcare organization and a community-based network of hospitals, physician practices and outpatient care centers across Central Florida. The organization is home to the area’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and pediatrics, and is a statutory teaching hospital system that offers both specialty and community hospitals. More than 3,100 physicians have privileges across the system, which is also one of the area’s largest employers with more than 20,200 employees who serve more than 167,000 inpatients, more than 2.7 million outpatients, and more than 20,000 international patients each year. Additionally, Orlando Health provides more than $620 million in total value to the community in the form of charity care, community benefit programs and services, community building activities and more. Additional information can be found at www.orlandohealth.com.