UK Hospital to Base Second Helicopter in Eastern Kentucky
UK’s Air Medical Service of the University of Kentucky Hospital will locate a second helicopter in Jackson to better serve Eastern, Southeastern and Central Kentucky residents
University of Kentucky, September 14, 1998 - LEXINGTON, KY By Mary Margaret Colliver - The University of Kentucky Hospital today announced that UK’s Air Medical Service will locate a second helicopter in Jackson, Ky., to better serve the health care needs of Eastern, Southeastern and Central Kentucky residents.
Beginning Oct. 1, the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter, which is identical to UK’s other helicopter, will be based at the Jackson airport between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. seven days a week. Two pilots and the medical flight crew, consisting of a nurse and a paramedic, will depart each morning from UK Hospital’s helipad and return at 11 p.m. UK’s other helicopter will remain based at the UK Hospital helipad 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
UK will lease the new helicopter from Petroleum Helicopter, Inc. (PHI) for $40,000 per month. UK has leased its original helicopter from PHI since UK Air Medical Service was established in 1987.
UK’s program is one of the safest in the United States and one of the busiest. The program currently receives about 2,200 requests per year to transport patients to UK Hospital.
Of those requests, 1,100 are accommodated. Adding the second helicopter will allow more requests to be fulfilled and requests will be met quicker with decreased response times.
Because of the demand for UK’s Air Medical Service to transport patients to UK Hospital, UK utilized another local emergency helicopter service for about 200 missions last year. Because both Lexington-based services could not respond quickly enough, many patients had to be transported to West Virginia and Tennessee instead of UK.
Seventy-five percent of UK’s missions involve transporting patients between medical facilities; the other 25 percent are scene flights.
About 60 percent of the helicopter missions involve trauma patients, 15 percent are for critically ill children, including infants transported to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, 15 percent are for cardiac patients, and the remainder of the transports are for high risk obstetrics patients and medical and surgical emergency patients.
Because UK could not meet the demand for flight requests, UK Hospital conducted a rigorous evaluation of its emergency helicopter service over the last year. The analysis showed that another helicopter was needed during that particular 12-hour time period, seven days a week.
UK Hospital has the only Level 1Trauma Center serving Central, Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky. The establishment of a second helicopter is in keeping with the Hospital’s mission to provide complex critical care for acutely ill and injured adults and children.
It is well recognized that the critical nature of these patients necessitates helicopter transport. UK’s goal was to have each of its helicopters in a location where the response time would be only 20 minutes. The remote base of Jackson was chosen as a strategic location in UK’s primary referral area.
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