Albany, N.Y., March 9, 2006—Staff, patients and community supporters of the “Med Flight” program gathered today at a reception held at Albany Medical Center to celebrate the 10th anniversary of northeastern New York’s only hospital-based helicopter transport service.
Since the program’s inception in 1996, more than 6,000 patients have benefited from the service.
In addition to transporting patients from accident scenes, the service is used to transport patients, including premature babies, from hospitals within the Medical Center’s 25-county service area to Albany Med, as well as transport stroke and heart attack victims.
“In cases of traumatic accidents and conditions like stroke and cardiac events, time is of the essence in making a difference between life and death,” said Mara McErlean, M.D., chair of emergency medicine at Albany Med. “From the program’s pilots, crew and administrators to the emergency medical services personnel and other community responders who provide such a vital link to this program—we thank you and commend you for 10 years of invaluable service to this community.”
As demand for its services grew throughout the years, the Medical Center built a helipad atop the eight-story patient tower in April of 2000. Having previously landed on a helipad located three blocks from the Medical Center at Notre Dame Drive, landing directly atop the patient tower reduced transport to the emergency department by as much as 12 minutes.
Recently, the program’s original aircraft, a 21-year-old BK-117 helicopter, was replaced with an EC-135 helicopter, part of the newest generation of twin-engine EMS helicopters.