Beaumont and PHI Air Medical launch helicopter transportation service

8/14/2012

With an expanded organ transplant program and an increase in patients from outside Southeast Michigan, Beaumont Health System is taking to the skies with a new air medical transportation service, Beaumont One. The twin-engine EC135 helicopter will transport patients within Michigan and northern Ohio. The service was launched Aug. 13.

Beaumont is contracting with PHI Air Medical to offer the new air medical service, which will transport patients between hospitals and from accident scenes. The Beaumont One helicopter will be based at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

"Beaumont One will give residents, referring physicians and law enforcement agencies quicker access to complex medical care and the only Level I Trauma Center in Oakland and Macomb counties," explains Patrick Pettengill, M.D., emergency medicine specialist and Beaumont One, medical director. "When time is critical, our flight crews can perform transports without concerns about traffic conditions on the ground."

A study published in the April 18 Journal of the American Medical Association compared trauma survival rates in patients transported to hospitals by helicopter and ground services. Patients with major trauma flown by helicopter to Level I or II Trauma Centers had a higher rate of survival: 16 percent higher for Level I centers and 15 percent higher for Level II centers.

Phoenix-based PHI Air Medical, L.L.C., is the leading air ambulance provider in the U.S. PHI is providing the helicopter and the 14-member Beaumont One flight team, including pilots, paramedics, nurses and mechanics. When not on the pad at Beaumont, Royal Oak or making flights, the helicopter will be housed at Oakland/Troy Airport.

"PHI has a very focused, personal approach and we are proud of the important work of our customers," explains Sean O'Neal, regional director, PHI Air Medical. "We have invested greatly to ensure that our operations are comprised of the finest professionals, processes, technology and aircraft in the industry. Safety is our No.1 priority. Our total company safety record far exceeds the national average. In fact, we were the first company to receive the Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award. The pilots and maintenance technicians assigned to air medical duty are among the most experienced, dedicated and best trained in the world."

Beaumont One is an American Eurocopter, model EC135 featuring:

  • cruising speed - 140 miles per hour
  • range - 350 miles
  • cabin capacity - 6 (including pilot)
  • noise reduction - one of the quietest helicopters in its class
  • rear clamshell doors - patient loading
  • enclosed tail rotor

While Beaumont has collaborated with area air medical transportation services in the past, Beaumont One will be the organization's first dedicated, full-time flight service based at Beaumont. Along with hospital transfers, the service will take on a new role in assisting law enforcement agencies at accident scenes providing trauma transport.

About PHI Air Medical, L.L.C.
PHI Air Medical is the leading air ambulance provider across the country, providing safe, reliable and advanced air medical services and outreach education to local communities and leading health care systems.

PHI safely transports more than 30,000 patients each year, operating out of more than 65 bases across the United States. At each base, PHI Air Medical maintains a dedicated crew of pilots, nurses and communications specialists - all highly trained and ready to respond.

About Beaumont's Level I Trauma Center
Beaumont, Royal Oak is the only hospital in Oakland and Macomb counties, and one of nine in Michigan, that is a Level I trauma center, the highest designation for trauma care. In 2011, Beaumont cared for 1,406 trauma patients.

At Beaumont's Level I trauma center:

  • Surgeons are on-call 24/7 and in the hospital within 15 minutes of a critically injured patient's arrival.
  • A helipad is available for patients who need to be airlifted.
  • The doctors and nurses are all specially trained in trauma care.
  • State-of-the-art diagnostic and testing equipment are available.
  • The trauma team is ready when the patient arrives and cares for him throughout his hospital stay.
  • Family support is available, including social workers and pastoral care.
  • A trauma registry is kept to aid trauma research.