New Georgia Hospital's Helipad Will Save Time

LifeFlights will be able to land directly at the hospital, close to the ER entrance


 
 

Kay Harris, THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES | | Monday, September 17, 2012


VALDOSTA, Ga. — Minutes can cost a lifetime.

At times, even a short delay can mean the difference between life and death. Having faster access to a lifeline is critical.

Before the end of 2012, that access will be enhanced for patients at South Georgia Medical Center when the new $225,000 helipad becomes operational. Emergency helicopters, commonly referred to as LifeFlights, will be able to land directly at the hospital, close to the entrance of the emergency department, to transport patients to other facilities.

Bill Forbes, chief planning officer, says that currently patients needing a higher level of care must be put into an ambulance and transported to the Valdosta Regional Airport to be placed on a helicopter.

“By bringing the helicopters directly to the hospital, it gives our patients access to the care they need that much quicker,” Forbes said.

Level One Trauma Centers in Macon and Atlanta, as well as specialty facilities such as Shands in Gainesville or Jacksonville, Fla., are generally the destinations for patients whose illnesses or injuries fall outside the scope of the services offered at SGMC.

Forbes said Augusta’s burn center is often a destination, but added that Augusta typically sends its own planes rather than helicopters because they can travel greater distances.

The helipad foundation has been poured across a small parking lot close to the emergency department, and Forbes said some realignment will also take place to ensure that patients can be transported quickly and safely to the helicopter.

The helipad is 88-by-88 feet with a six-foot concrete slab to accommodate both the wingspan and the weight of the aircraft.

“It can handle a 10,000-pound helicopter,” said Forbes, “and all of the transport services in the region have said that is more than adequate for their needs.”

SGMC does not own or operate the helicopters, which are private transport services.

“They bill insurance, Medicare and Medicaid just like we do, and they also experience some losses,” he said.

The services are based within a 50-mile radius with none currently in Valdosta, but Forbes said there is some discussion about a company locating at the Valdosta Regional Airport in the future.

Forbes said that although SGMC would accept in-coming patients if necessary, typically patients are flying out, not in. The hospital has considered upgrading to a Level One Trauma Center, but the expense of the added services that must be in place to do so has so far made that cost-prohibitive.

It will still be several weeks before the helipad becomes fully operational as Forbes said there are numerous regulatory issues associated with it.

“We are working with the FAA (Federal Aviation Association) because we have to have two clear flight patterns, one for incoming flights and one for outgoing. We also have to have special landing lights, radio frequencies, etc.”

Forbes said bringing the flights directly to the hospital is a patient-safety issue for SGMC.

“It will enhance the care we can provide for our patients.”



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Life Flight

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

PulsePoint PSA, San Diego

App will allow trained San Diego residents to respond to nearby cardiac arrest c
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

California Beach Lightning Strike MCI

More than a dozen injured in Venice Beach lighting strike.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Item on Iowa Helicopter Helps Save Patient’s Life

Supply of blood recently added to LifeFlight helicopter.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Shooting Inside Pennsylvania Hospital

Early reports of one person dead in Darby hospital.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >