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Wed, Mar 28, 2007

Louisiana Hospital Adds Fixed-Wing Air Ambulance Service

Critical Care Team Gets King Air 100

Schumpert Health System of Shreveport, LA has unveiled its newest, life-saving toy: a King Air 100 air ambulance at a cost of around $1 million.

The aircraft (type shown above) is configured to carry up to two patients and three medical crew members and is equipped for the longer distance transports. The King Air joins the facility's Life Air Rescue helicopter, which is a joint venture between Christus Schumpert and Willis-Knighton Medical Center, according to The Shreveport Times.

Rounding out the hospital-based transport fleet are ground ambulances, including a specially-equipped pediatric ambulance for Christus Schumpert Sutton Children's Medical Center.

"It gives us another component of our comprehensive transport program," said Wes Roan, director of clinical transport services at Christus Schumpert. "We will have dedicated flight crew and medical crew here at Schumpert that are specially trained."

CHRISTUS Schumpert Health System is a nonprofit system based out of Dallas, TX. The hospital care organization has been in business since 1894. The hospital has been planning for fixed-wing transports for about a year--  as fixed-winged aircraft can travel a longer distances than a helicopter.

This addition means that higher level health care options are now more readily accessible... such as pediatric cardiac surgery, or thoracic surgery in hospitals in San Antonio and the Houston Medical Center. Transports of this duration originally meant taking the Life Air Rescue Helicopter out of local service for four hours or more.

Patients in areas outside of the helicopter's range of the 150-mile radius that covers Northwest Louisiana, East Texas, and Southern Arkansas, can now be flown in to Shreveport for services available there. Currently, these trips are made by ground ambulance.

"To my knowledge, this is the only dedicated fixed-wing air ambulance in north Louisiana, Arkansas and east Texas," said Roan, who added the hospital will be making runs for other medical centers when the plane is available.

Life Air Rescue's current primary aircraft is an American Eurocopter EC-135 with a cruising speed of 150-160 mph with a start up/shut down times of less that a minute -- eliminating the need for hot loads and unloads -- and is capable of transporting two patients and three crew. The reserve unit is a BO-105.

Hospital officals expect the King Air to fly 85 to 100 air transports during the first year.

FMI: www.lifeairrescue.com/index.htm, www.christusschumpert.org/index.htm

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