Helicopter provides quicker access to medical care in rural counties

Helicopter provides quicker access to medical care in rural counties
RN Chris Medders
RN Chris Medders

CAMILLA, GA (WALB) - The need for access to quick medical care has brought a helicopter to Camilla. A state grant enabled Air Methods to come to Mitchell County in January.

As rural hospital struggle to stay open, helicopters like this one ensure that everyone who needs quick care, can get it.

There's a good chance you've seen this helicopter flying around Mitchell County or the surrounding areas; It serves within a 90 mile radius.  It's been at the Camilla airport for about seven months, staying busy since it arrived.

Chris Medders, paramedic and RN, is one of a three member team who responds to medical emergencies by air.

The team can take as many as three or four medical calls a day, depending on the weather. Crews respond to all types of calls.

"You have all your medical issues, your diabetic emergencies, your cardiac emergencies, your strokes," Medders said.

And traveling by air can make all the difference because they can get there must faster. "We have access to get to that facility that would take an hour, even an hour and a half by ground."

Its a tight space, but they can provide the same care a patient can get in an ambulance.

"Well place our patient on the cardiac monitor as we would have done as we were loading, if they are intubated we will use our ventilator, and will put them on there, continuous IV meds are usually given."

It takes about five to six minutes to prep for take off. "Everybody gets in, we do our checks, make sure we have all of our equipment."

Medders says it teamwork is essential. They have to work together to make sure things go smoothly.

"With the stress indicators on top of the patient issues, we have to make sure we are able to maintain a level of professionalism and do what we are trained to do."

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