Helicopter emergency medical service patient transport safe at night?
until further notice
SourceAir Medical Journal, 33, 6, (2014), pp. 296-298
Article / Letter to editor
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Air Medical Journal
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences; Radboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVE: Dutch helicopter emergency medical services are available 24/7. Working without daylight brings additional challenges, both in patient care and in-flight operation. We retrospectively evaluated the safety of this nighttime helicopter transportation of patients. METHODS: Our helicopter emergency medical service database was reviewed for all patients transported by helicopter during nighttime. Both interhospital transports and patients transported from the accident location to a hospital were included. The time traveled by helicopter was compared with the time that road transportation of these patients would have taken. RESULTS: In total, 513 patients were transported by helicopter. Of these patients, 72 were transported during nighttime (14%); the median age was 25.3 years (range, 1.1-73.9 years). The median flight time to the hospital was 16 minutes (range, 5-42 minutes). To travel by road, this would have taken a median of approximately 44 minutes (range, 23-100 minutes). When comparing these travel times, a significantly faster transport time by helicopter during nighttime was observed (P < .001). Three non-flight-specific incidents were noted. CONCLUSION: We conclude that helicopter transportation of patients without daylight is safe and fast in a Dutch setting.
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