When a medical emergency occurs, time is crucial to saving lives. "Up until now, people in the Upstate of South Carolina who needed emergency long distance critical care air ambulance service had to wait for a plane out of Charlotte, N.C. or Gwinnett, G.A.," according to David Ellis, Program Manager, of EagleMed South Carolina. "Often these planes were already booked and some aren't available 24 hours a day, so during a time sensitive situation, critical hours were lost," Ellis said.
"Most people think of helicopters when they think of air medical transport flights," according to Ellis. Sometimes helicopters are the only mode of air transportation because they can land at an accident scene and take a patient directly to a hospital, therefore by-passing the need for an airport. But helicopters aren't an option for long distance trips, because of their slower speed and their fuel reserve limitations which limits the distance they can travel without stopping to refuel. Helicopters also can't fly in some weather conditions, like during times of high winds. Airplanes can transport larger patients than a helicopter. "Our sister company, Med-Trans, operates the medical helicopter services for the Greenville Hospital System, Spartanburg Regional, and AnMed Hospital in Anderson," stated Ellis. "Through them, we saw the need for a regional, medically equipped airplane to help patients," Ellis said.
"About 50 percent of our flights so far have been to take patients with serious burns to the regional burn treatment center in Augusta, GA," Ellis said. "EagleMed will also be used to fly patients who have suffered a stroke; or are in need of highly specialized cardiovascular or vascular surgery to Charleston, S.C.," stated Ellis. "Special pediatric and neonatal patients will be transported to the Greenville Hospital System or to Charleston, depending on the situation and their location," Ellis added. "We are notified of critical care situations by emergency workers, and while the patient is being stabilized, an ambulance will transport our specialized team to pick up the patient and bring them to the airport," Ellis said.
The patient, along with one family member, can then be flown in the pressurized cabin of a medically equipped King Air 90 aircraft that has a non-stop range of 900 miles and can fly 250 miles per hour (mph). All EagleMed aircraft are completely configured for mission critical transports. Each is equipped with state of the art medical and emergency equipment like heart monitors that have the capabilities for monitoring standard heart tracings as well as 12-Lead diagnosing, biphasic defibrillation, pacing, ETCO2, and pulse oximetry. Other transport equipment includes: transport ventilators, 3 channel infusion pumps and a medical loading system. This equipment, in conjunction with the highly skilled medical team and pilot transform EagleMed's planes into a "flying intensive care unit".
In comparison, a typical medical helicopter can fly 138 mph, provides a non-stop range of just 350 miles, the cabin is non-pressurized and there sometimes isn't room for an accompanying family member.
"Air transport helps provide people who live or work in rural areas with the same access to high quality health care facilities that residents of metropolitan areas have," stated Ellis. "When we looked for a new base airport, we needed a central location and we also looked at the airport's weather history patterns of how much time they didn't have weather good enough to take off or land in. All these considerations pointed us to the Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU). At GMU, Greenville Jet Center had a large hangar and office space available that could be converted into a base, much like a fire department station, So EagleMed is ready when an emergency happens," according to Ellis. "Not many air ambulance services do this, some have people on call but that can add hours to the trip time waiting for them to report to the airport.," Ellis added.
"EagleMed reacts to an emergency like an ambulance does, so in emergent cases we take care of the patient first and figure out the payment for our services later," stated Ellis "Most air ambulance services require proof of payment first," according to Ellis. "That is one reason I am proud to be with EagleMed, the patent's health comes first, even if we never get paid,' Ellis added.
"From our new base at GMU, we can respond to emergencies within a 900 mile radius, so from this location we can provide critical care air transport services as far North as Massachusetts, South all the way to the tip of Florida, East to the coast and West to Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana," stated Ellis.
"EagleMed is an excellent addition to a diverse group of aviation businesses based at the Greenville Downtown Airport," stated Joe Frasher, Airport Director at the Greenville Downtown Airport. "EagleMed is going to be a great asset to our community and we are so happy to have them," Frasher added.
On Wednesday, January 25th from 2 - 6 pm, EagleMed will have an open house at their new facility which is located at 7 Airport Road Extension at the Greenville Downtown Airport. Refreshments will be served. Tours of the aircraft and facility will be provided and you can meet the flight team. A ribbon cutting ceremony, that will include members of the Greenville Hospital System, the Greenville Airport Commission and EagleMed, will take place at 3 pm.
EagleMed was founded in 1977 and provides air ambulance service to over 6,000 patients annually. EagleMed offers services in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and now South Carolina. EagleMed is proud to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Services. All EagleMed medical personnel are specialty trained and have a variety of advanced clinical certifications. EagleMed operates a total of twenty five medically equipped rotor wing and fixed wing aircraft and employs approximately 300 people. EagleMed South Carolina is located at 7 Airport Road Ext., Hangar #9, Greenville, SC 29607-2633. For more information about EagleMed please visit http://www.flyeaglemed.com/ or contact David Ellis, Program Manager, atDavid.Ellis@flyeaglemed.com or at 800-525-5220.
The Greenville Downtown Airport, whose airport identifier is GMU, is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina and is a self-sufficient entity with financial strength that doesn't rely on local taxpayers for funding. GMU is home to Greenville Jet Center, the largest Fixed Base Operation (FBO) in S.C., as well as more than 25 other aviation-related businesses creating 453 jobs that annually contribute more than $35.2 million to the Upstate economy. For more information about GMU please visit http://www.greenvilledowntownairport.com or contact Joe Frasher at 864-242-4777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
At the Open House on Wednesday, January 25th, the media is invited to come early, anytime after 10 am, for interviews and private tours. Attached are photos and a logo that you can use.