MedStat’s newest helicopter visits Winston County

From staff and press reports

The Health Science class and other students at the Louisville/Winston
County Career and Technical Center recently received a visit from the
newest Emergency Medical Service Helicopter.

MedStat EMS, Inc. which recently expanded its Helicopter Emergency
Medical Service (HEMS) operation showed off its newest life saving
Helicopter and equipment.

Flight nurse Heidi Wilder and Flight medic Bill Forster reviewed the
equipment and the importance of the service to saving lives in the area.

“This is like having an emergency room or intensive care unit in the
sky,” said Wilder.

Wilder added that the key part of the flight service was speed.

“The faster we get the patient to the hospital the better chances
they have,” said Wilder. “Quick response saves lives.”

Wilder noted that she and her counterparts were lucky to be working
with MedStat EMS since the helicopter and all the emergency equipment
is state of the art which gives them a better chance of saving their

She added that MedStat was on the cutting edge of technology for air
flight life saving and one of the very few flight services that
carried units of blood which can be essential in saving a life.

Wilder and Forster allowed two teens to experience the close quarters
of the helicopter and how the patient is placed in the helicopter.

Several students asked about Wilder’s experience to earn the role as
a flight nurse.

Wilder noted that she had extensive experience in critical care and
emergency medicine since medical care on the helicopter must be done
quickly, efficiently and was usually highly involved.

MedStat added the new helicopter and additional location to its
service in an effort to improve access to care for victims of
traumatic injuries and critical illnesses in east central Mississippi
noted Mark Galtelli, MedStat Program Director.

The new medical helicopter is based at the Golden Triangle Regional
airport in Columbus, MS.

MedStat EMS, with its corporate headquarters located in Winona, MS,
presently has a medical helicopter based in Winona, MS and serves as
the primary 911 ambulance provider for 15 Counties in central and
north Mississippi. MedStat has staffed the helicopter with a
critical care team consisting of a nurse and paramedic who will used
the advanced medical equipment and procedures beyond what is
typically provided on paramedic level ambulances.

MedStat EMS CEO Barry Eskridge emphasized that this service fills a
void in east central Mississippi as well as provide increased
availability for MedStat’s HEMS program. “Prior to the establishment
of our base at GTR, the region’s closest HEMS helicopter was over 50
miles away. Citizens of the Golden Triangle region now have immediate
access to the life saving expert medical care and increased speed of
transportation a HEMS unit offers.”

Company officials state the program expansion will benefit a wide
variety of patient types. Patients suffering from significant trauma,
heart attacks, strokes, and critical medical problems will benefit
from the service. Rapid and direct transportation to trauma center,
heart catheterization lab, stroke center, or a facility that provides
advanced medical care is proven to provide substantially better
outcomes for patients. With the helicopter based at a central
location and by closely integrating the activation of the helicopter
with local ambulance services and healthcare facilities, Patients
will have rapid access to the major trauma centers and tertiary care
hospitals substantially faster than if transported by ground
ambulance or by having to wait for an aircraft from out of the area
to facilitate the transport.

The expansion will also provide logistical benefits for MedStat’s
existing HEMS program. “By having another helicopter located just 60
miles from our existing Winona base, the units can provide backup
coverage for each other in the event one aircraft is busy or if there
is a multicasualty scene,” Eskridge said.

Both helicopters used by MedStat were built at the American
Eurocopter facility in Columbus, MS. Widely used in HEMS transport
programs across the country, the Eurocopter AS350-B2 is well known
for its mechanical reliability, performance and safety record. The
Helicopter based at GTR is equipped with advanced avionics to include
terrain avoidance technology, air traffic collision avoidance
technology, autopilot, radar altimeter, satellite tracking and
monitoring through MedStat’s control center as well as night vision
goggles for the pilot and medical crew members. The helicopter has a
range of over 300 miles and has a cruising speed of 133 knots (153 mph).

The aircraft based in Columbus will respond to request for service
from local EMS agencies and hospitals within a 75 mile radius of
Columbus and will provide support for the ground ambulance operations
in Monroe County.