Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute is proud to announce that Memorial Hermann Life Flight® has been named the winner of the Texas Department of State Health Services’ 2014 EMS Air Medical Service of the Year Award. This prestigious award honors a public or private air medical service in Texas that has demonstrated the highest standards in providing patient care, leading the way in innovation and commitment to patient care.
Winners in 13 different categories were announced Tuesday at the annual Texas EMS state conference in Fort Worth. Each category honors a person or organization that exemplifies the best that the Texas EMS and trauma system has to offer. This year marks the third time that Life Flight has achieved this recognition, winning previously in 2001 and 2004.
“We are so grateful and humbled that our esteemed EMS colleagues around the Lone Star State have elected to honor us with this significant award once again,” said Tom Flanagan, chief operating officer of Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, home to the Texas Trauma Institute. “It reinforces and rewards the amazing work our Life Flight teams do every day, providing the highest quality of in-flight care possible while helping to revolutionize the air medical field by constantly introducing new advancements and technologies.”
Memorial Hermann Life Flight is a critical care air medical transport service based in Houston – the city’s only hospital-based air ambulance – that serves the community within a 150-mile radius of the Texas Medical Center with helicopters and worldwide using fixed-wing transport.
Founded in 1976 by James "Red" Duke, M.D., who still is medical director, the service operates around the clock – 24-hours a day, 365 days a year – retrieving critically ill and injured patients in the greater Houston area. Crews perform more than 3,000 missions each year, making the John S. Dunn Helistop one of the busiest helipads in the world. Since its inaugural flight, Life Flight has flown more than 140,000 missions.
Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS), Life Flight is committed to excellence in aviation safety and clinical care. Each flight is staffed by highly skilled personnel and equipped advanced emergency equipment and necessary medications, and can transport up to two patients.
Life Flight already has a long list of advanced, in-flight capabilities, including: pre-hospital blood product administration, LVAD capabilities, ECMO capabilities, intra-aortic balloon pump, portable blood warmers, ultrasound diagnostics, clot-busting agents for STEMI, hemostatic agents for blood clotting and night vision goggles for all crew members, just to name a few.
Last week, the service added yet another groundbreaking capability to that list, becoming the first program in Southeast Texas to be granted authority to conduct flights under instrument flight rules (IFR) by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). This new capability allows Life Flight crews to continue caring for the community when weather conditions might restrict flights under visual flight rules (VFR).
“While some flights may still not be possible in cases of extremely inclement weather, the use of IFR will significantly expand Life Flight’s ability to safely serve the greater Houston area and surrounding communities,” said Christopher “Todd” Grubbs, ATP, chief pilot of Life Flight.