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New service could save your life

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August 19, 2004

Lee County-- An Air-Med helicopter flies over South Georgia. Flight Medic Allen McCready explains "We cover all of the areas south of Macon for the most part, and that includes the coast, to the Florida line, to the Alabama line."

Emergency crews wait for their arrival. The flight medic, nurse and a pilot make a smooth landing in Lee County. They're not here to save a life today but they want to be sure everyone is ready when they have to.

Lee County EMS director Bobby Watkins said "If we get something we can't handle and we get multiple patients, these guys can really help us out." Help can be on the way in a matter of minutes. "We have five minutes to get up in the air and he does his pre-flight checks. We just make sure the equipment is ready to go," says McCready.

When Air-med takes off, they want to be sure emergency workers on the ground are ready to go too, So they spent today explaining safety procedures and patient criteria. "The patient has to be critical, has to weigh under a certain amount of weight; under 300 pounds," explains McCready.

Once the patient is placed on an emergency sled, they will ride with speeds of up to 170 miles per hour in the mobile ER to the nearest hospital that can meet their medical needs. McCready describes "We have cardiac monitors, defibrillators. We carry cardiac drugs."

Only mother nature can determine when they can carry a patient. "Weather is a big factor because we don't want to take any chances,"says McCready, but since Air-Med is now servicing South Georgia, the chances of saving the life of a critical patient are even better.

South Georgia had helicopter service for several years, when Georgia Baptist Hospital operated Worth County Hospital, which is now owned by Phoebe Putney.

Posted by jennifer.hulsey@walb.com at 4:56 PM