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Life Link III: An elevated ICU - MessAge Media: Health

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Life Link III: An elevated ICU

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Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2018 5:00 am

Life Link III provides helicopter and airplane services for rapid on-scene emergency response and inter-facility transport for ill or injured patients requiring critical care.

It operates eight helicopter bases and provides air transportation for patients throughout the state and region. Life Link III’s base opened at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport last May.  

Once a request for air transport is made by hospitals or first responders through the One Call system, it is transferred immediately to Life Link III’s computer-aided dispatch system to get the request initiated as soon as possible.

Aboard the AgustaWestland AW119Kx
Aboard the AgustaWestland AW119Kx aircraft is the pilot, nurse and paramedic, certified in critical care flight transport.

The communication center is staffed with certified flight communication specialists who dispatch 24/7 year-round. Life Link III dispatches AgustaWestland AW119Kx aircraft to provide patient helicopter transports, and a Pilatus PC-12 NG for fixed-wing transports. Dispatchers can quickly determine which aircraft is closest to the scene or facility–whether it is Life Link III or another service.

In 2017, 17 percent of total transport requests received by Life Link III were referred to and completed by another service. In 2017, Life Link III completed 2,561 helicopter and airplane transports; 85 percent were adults and 15 percent were pediatric or neonate patients. Reasons for transport ranged from cardiac, neurological, trauma, medical, pulmonary, burn and obstetric.

Life Link III is a not-for-profit company composed of 10 member-owner hospital systems, including Allina Health, Children’s Minnesota, Fairview, Hennepin Healthcare, Regions Hospital, HSHS Sacred Heart/St. Joseph’s, CentraCare Health, St. Luke’s, Marshfield Clinic Health System and Essentia Health. 

However, Life Link III doesn’t exclusively service these organizations. It transports patients to and from any hospital in the area, including into hospitals that are not consortium members. Time of day, seriousness of the injury or medical issue, and level of care needed en route to definitive care are taken into consideration when the referring EMS agency, hospital medical staff, the patient or patient’s family determine where and how the patient is transported.

Paramedic Brian Mayotte, Flight Nurse Angela Teckemeyer and Pilot Matt Nelson
Paramedic Brian Mayotte, Flight Nurse Angela Teckemeyer and Pilot Matt Nelson at the helicopter landing pad at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

Aircraft such as the AgustaWestland AW119Kx act as flying intensive care units –not just bringing the patient to medical care, but bringing medical care to the patient. Aboard are a pilot and two-person medical crew of critical care-certified flight transport nurses and paramedics.

Medications and technology are quickly accessible
Flight clinicians have at their fingertips a broad variety of medications andtechnology that are quickly accessible and used on-board the helicopter.

The fully-equipped medical cabin allows for critical care pre-hospital services to begin from accident scenes or local hospitals until a patient reaches a facility that can provide specific expertise or a higher level of care. Flight clinicians have at their fingertips a broad variety of medications and technology that are quickly accessible and used on-board the aircraft.

Fixed hard-mounting brackets secure all medical equipment in the aircraft. Equipment includes a transport ventilator, automatic compression device, multiple channel infusion pump, video laryngoscope, defibrillator/monitors and a balloon pump. Each helicopter also carries two units of O-negative packed red blood cells, as well as tranexamic acid, point-of-care laboratory testing and ultrasound.

The helicopter travels at a maximum speed of 176 mph with an average cruise speed of 167 mph. The Life Link III Communication Center provides 24/7 in-flight tracking and monitoring. Night vision goggles are worn by crew members during all night-time flights for enhanced visibility and safety, especially when flying into accident scenes.

Life Link III has a 33-year history of improving patient care and transport safety. Medical crews undergo continuous simulation training throughout the year to remain competent and prepared to deal with any type of situation and patient.

Recently, Life Link III identified a need for standardized hospital helipad safety training and produced a video to educate hospital staff who assist with patient transports or maintain the helipad area. The video was awarded the Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award by the Association of Air Medical Transport Services and can be viewed at www.lifelinkiii.com

In 2017, Life Link III was named Air Medical Transport Program of the Year and received the Governor’s Safety Award. It is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS). Learn more about Life Link III at www.lifelinkiii.com

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