How often have we all read the words, “Accident victims were evacuated to local hospitals by Medevac helicopter,” yet it’s not often that people give much thought to the life-saving advantages of a medical chopper flight to a not-so-local hospital. While many readers might consider medevac services truly useful only when an individual is injured in car accident that occurs in a remote part of the countryside, such as a state park or other more rural setting, it’s not uncommon to have emergency responders call for a medical evacuation chopper in instances where the best medical care more than a 30-minute ambulance ride from the scene of a severe car or pedestrian traffic accident.
The fact is, medevac helicopters can get a person injured in an auto accident to the right medical facility for treatment of specific or life-threatening injuries. It can be said that in a percentage of accidents, just taking an injured driver or passenger to the closest hospital may not be in that person’s best interest. This is especially clear in cases of traumatic brain injury — also known as closed-head injury — where the nearest local medical facility is poorly equipped for such specific and critical care.
As Baltimore auto accident lawyers and Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my staff understand the importance of getting a car, truck or motorcycle accident victim stabilized as quickly as possible to avoid future complications. So many factors come into play following a highway collision that only the medical personnel at the scene can assess each victim and determine the most immediate and effective care.
Not long ago, an news article discussed the important role that medevac helicopters play in helping victims of Maryland traffic accidents get the proper medical treatment. According to the article, in Harford County alone there were more than 100 medevac flights through July of this year. Based on Maryland State Police statistics, Harford County is well above last year’s total medical evac flights, which added up to 135 in all of 2010.
Based on that news item, Harford County has seen an uptrend in medevac services, which has prompted the Maryland State Police to temporarily base its “Trooper 1” police chopper in the northwest portion of Cecil County during peak summertime hours; it is normally based at Martin State Airport in Middle River, MD. This also helps emergency responders in Cecil County, as they also have a high number of medevac calls — just under 140 last year.
One important reason for the relocation of Trooper 1 is the lack of a nearby shock trauma center in Harford County. In fact, according to experts, there is no trauma center any closer than 30 minutes by ambulance in most of Harford County. According to the article, the closest one is located across the state border in Delaware.
For those concerned that the summertime relocation of the MSP’s helicopter will affect individuals involved in accidents here in Baltimore County, emergency response experts say that medevac services will not be seriously impacted. This is good to know, since Baltimore County recorded more than 200 MSP chopper calls — of all types – in 2010, and has already logged nearly 150 by mid-July this year.
It’s important to keep in mind that the Baltimore County PD has its own helicopter — used mainly for search and law enforcement missions — but which can also serve as a medevac chopper for victims of traffic accidents when needed. There are no helicopters used by the county police departments in Cecil and Harford, which is why they must rely on the MSP for that service.
According to the news article, Baltimore County also has four trauma centers within what authorities state is a reasonable driving distance. These include Johns Hopkins, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Sinai Hospital and the shock trauma center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
State Police: Efficiency Key to Medevac Success in Maryland, Patch.com, July 28, 2011