WILMINGTON – In a collaborative effort to better serve the communities in its seven-county region, New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) has expanded its AirLink program with the addition of a second helicopter. By stationing the EC-135 T2 helicopters in Onslow and Columbus Counties, providers will be able to cut response times and deliver critical care and air ambulance services to patients following a traumatic illness or injury.
“New Hanover County residents are fortunate to live close to a trauma center. Our VitaLink and EMS crews can get a patient to the hospital within the critical window for care,” says Jack Barto, President and Chief Executive Officer of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “People’s lives depend on how quickly they can get to the care they need—whether it’s here or another specialized facility outside the region. This dual aircraft model will allow us to save precious time in emergencies when every minute counts.”
The NHRMC AirLink helicopter and pilots are provided by Air Methods Corporation and the medical crew is provided by New Hanover Regional Medical Center. The team provides transport services for patients with traumatic injuries, stroke, cardiac events, high-risk obstetrics and pediatric emergencies. As part of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, the AirLink program receives no local tax dollars.
“Because the AirLink helicopter is staffed by medical personnel who receive hundreds of hours of critical care transport training, we can actually begin intensive care for the patient while in flight,” says John Popella, Director of Critical Care Transport at NHRMC. “Being able to provide this kind of care, in addition to the convenience of stationing the helicopters in Onslow and Columbus Counties, will complement the services already provided to residents in the area.”
The AirLink helicopter is equipped with a modern medical interior, the latest in mobile medical technology and advanced safety features including Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (TAWS), night vision goggles, weather radar, Sky Connect remote satellite tracking system and Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).
The nurses and paramedics who provide medical care during flight are trained in critical care with specific education on flight physiology. The medical staff also receives continuing education on aircraft and flight safety training. Pilots receive extensive training, maintaining airworthiness exceeding Federal Aviation Administration standards.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center is a teaching hospital and regional referral center. As the tertiary care center for a seven-county area, New Hanover Regional Medical Center is one of 10 trauma centers in the state certified at Level II or above. Other specialty services include: a women’s & children’s hospital with high-risk maternal fetal medicine specialists, neonatal and pediatric intensive care and pediatric surgery, neurosurgery, an orthopedic specialty hospital, a heart center offering open heart surgery and vascular surgery and a cancer center that offers outpatient services, including chemotherapy, infusion therapy and radiation therapies.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the leading provider of quality and accessible health care in Southeastern North Carolina, delivering care to all in need, without the support of taxpayer dollars. The medical center takes seriously its responsibility as an economic engine for the community, creating more than 5,000 jobs directly and another 6,000 jobs indirectly.