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Emergency Helicopter to be Based in Golden Triangle

Press release from MedStat EMS — (based in Winona, MS)


Flight crew Bill Forster (FPC), Erin Dungan (RN, CEN), Bo Bukes (Pilot), and Edwin Mitchell (Ambulance Director)

Flight crew Bill Forster (FPC), Erin Dungan (RN, CEN), Bo Bukes (Pilot), and Edwin Mitchell (Ambulance Director)

MedStat EMS announces the expansion of its Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operation in an effort to improve access to care for victims of traumatic injuries and critical illnesses in east central Mississippi. Company officials today announced the opening of their newest medical helicopter base at the Golden Triangle Regional airport in Columbus.
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 will staff the helicopter with a critical care team consisting of a nurse and paramedic who will utilize advanced medical equipment and procedures beyond what is typically provided on paramedic level ambulances.
MedStat EMS CEO Barry Eskridge emphasized that this service will fill 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 to be utilized 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 will be 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 our ground ambulance operations in Monroe County.
(I have been on scene at countless medical calls where a localized rescue helicopter would have greatly increased the victim’s chances of recovery. I spoken with several emergency responders in the last few days who are overjoyed that the helicopter will be based at GTRA. I feel confident that the helicopter, with it’s exceptional crew and on-board technology will not only improve treatment for victims, but will very likely save some lives that might have been lost without it-Colin Krieger)


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