Life Flight is the rotor-wing element of the Medical Transport Program at Stanford Hospital & Clinics.  We respond to both scene (911) calls and interfacility transports.

At present, we complete between 600-700 flights per year, going as far as 250 miles to the northern California coast, to Reno, NV,   Bakersfield in the Central Valley, and to the central coast at Santa Maria, all from the Bay Area.

The flight team consist of one pilot and two flight nurses. With this team configuration, our aircraft (the EC 145) can accommodate up to two patients from scene call flights originating from the 911 system. These calls can include motor vehicle crashes, bicycle accidents, falls, near-drownings and other medical emergencies. Approximately forty percent of our flights are activated by a 911 call from the nine counties that make up the greater Bay Area.

On interfacility transports, moving one patient from one hospital to another, the interior configuration of the helicopter will allow up to four caregivers. This allows Life Flight to utilize specialty-care nurses, doctors and equipment, when required. These transports often involve critically ill patients being moved from smaller hospitals to intensive care units at Stanford including cardiac, cardiovascular, neurosurgical, orthopedic, high acuity obstetric, pediatric, and neonatal. They may have pulmonary or multi-organ failure, requiring tertiary-level intensivists. The level of patient monitoring is often increased prior to the flight to enhance patient care and safety during the transport.

Our flight crews meet rigorous standards.  Flight nurses have extensive training in caring for critically ill or injured patients in the airborne environment.  Using a hospital-developed set of protocols, they provide care consistent with that of Stanford Hospital & Clinics, thereby becoming an extension of the Hospital. There are a number of procedures performed by our flight nurses that are beyond the normal scope of practice for registered nurses. Recurrent training and clinical review maintain the competency in these skills. The pilots come to the program with several thousand hours of turbine helicopter experience but then have further training and maintain IFR and airline pilot ratings.

 During the non-flight time, the flight nurses are available to support the Emergency Department and the ICU's. They also assist the program's dispatch and the Transfer Center, helping to coordinate the smooth transfer of patients between hospitals.

For more information, contact Stanford Life Flight at (650) 723-5578.  Appropriate agencies can request the helicopter service at 800-321-STAT (7828).

E-mail: SoRuiz@stanfordmed.org

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