Chopper lands on campus to demonstrate emergency transport

Future health care providers got an up-close look Wednesday at how collaboration saves lives in emergencies. A medevac crew landed on the UNT Health Science Center campus to demonstrate their helicopter’s set-up and talk with students about teamwork.

“The amount of equipment is amazing,” said TCOM second-year student Kimberly Lacson. “It’s great to see how they support life while in the air. It’s an important aspect of emergency medicine to be able to transport quickly.”

The gear aboard the PHI Air Medical chopper includes IV pumps, catheters, intubation equipment, oxygen, and intra-bone infusion drill to inject fluids or medication into bone marrow, as well as a stretcher or “sled”.

“We can carry anyone from 10 pounds or 30 days of age, up through geriatrics,” said Flight Nurse Susan Smithwick. “We once carried a 550-pound patient.”

Arriving in the chopper to answer students’ questions on the ground were Flight Medic Jacob Long and Pilot Kevin Gagnon, in addition to Smithwick.

“Collaboration is important because mutual respect and communication is the best thing for the patient,” said Gerald Friedman, DO, who is Faculty Advisor to the TCOM Emergency Medicine Interest Group and TCOM Director of Medical Simulation.

Brian James, a first-year TCOM student  who was a paramedic in Travis County, observed that it was  “good to hear the flight crew talking about working alongside people with other health care careers. Emergency crews are the eyes, ears and hands of the physician under whose license they work.”

Wednesday’s event was arranged EMIG in support of UNTHSC’s collaborative and interprofessional efforts. One of the EMIG’s activities is  the new Flight Ride Out Program, which will allow EMIG members to fly as observers with PHI or CareFlight, directly experiencing air medical medicine.

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