New helicopter brings better care to Colleton residents | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | November 16, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: November 15, 2017 at 10:35 am
The shiny new helicopter was the centerpiece of Nov. 9 C.A.R.E. Flight open house on the Colleton Medical Center campus, but the celebration was really about something else.
It was about a shared vision and the partnership that came from that shared vision.
Perhaps it was Henry Ward, Med-Tran’s regional strategic operations director, who painted the best picture.
The partnership between Med-Trans, Colleton County Fire-Rescue and Colleton Medical Center works, he said, because “the DNA here is just so intertwined with putting the patient first and doing what is right for the citizens, the programs and the county and surrounding counties.
“We are honored in this relationship, whether it be from the hospital or Fire-Rescue,” Ward said.
Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy said Fire-Rescue and Colleton Medical Center had been unhappy with previous service provider. “We went looking for something to make it better.”
That search brought them to Med-Trans and a conversation that started 13 months ago.
“At every single turn when we have dealt with Med-Trans, it has always been the same thing; ‘Yes, we can do’,” McRoy said.
McRoy added that he only had to look back to earlier in the week for evidence of the fruit of their labors.
A baby sustained a critical head injury in an accident. Colleton County Fire-Rescue rushed the child to the helipad, and C.A.R.E. Flight took off, headed for the Pediatric Unit at Medical University of South Carolina.
Under 45 minutes elapsed between the accident first being reported and the injured child being examined by a surgeon at MUSC.
“That is incredible — it is all about getting the people there,” McRoy said.
Colleton Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Hiott told those gathered for the new helicopter’s ribboncutting, “We are excited to have the C.A.R.E Flight team join our team here at the hospital.” The medical transport service “is an opportunity for our community to have access to care that is needed in the Charleston and Augusta if need be.
“What an advantage to have a helicopter on our campus to show our commitment to our county and our surrounding communities,” Hiott said.
Ward, in introducing Hiott, said he was one of the people Med-Tran “has worked with very closely to make this happen.”
Ward said, “from working with local government with tree permits or building permits, to the hospital, to Colleton County Fire-Rescue, if we have asked for anything, the answer has been yes.
“This was one of the greatest program starts we have had,” said Ward, who oversees the operations of Med-Trans’ operations in South and North Carolina.
It was during those formative conversations that the possibility of Med-Tran partnering with Colleton County Fire-Rescue to staff the medical transport helicopters was first broached.
What if Colleton County Fire-Rescue provided the flight paramedics on the aircraft?
C.A.R.E Flight was born.
Ward explains that Med-Trans operates aircraft and provides the four pilots, four full-time and two part-time flight nurses and the mechanic who work at the Walterboro facility.
Colleton County Fire-Rescue provides the paramedics, who have to go through Med-Tran’s training. The company reimburses the county for all the costs associated with having the local paramedics assigned to the helicopter.
“It benefits us because we have an integrated system,” Ward said. When Colleton County Fire-Rescue is at the scene of an accident or medical emergency, he explained, “they know one of their medics is on board the helicopter. We have their radios, so when they launch a ground ambulance to go to a wreck, they automatically put us on standby because we are part of their system.”
He said that gives the patients “a good comprehensive system” while moving them to the proper medical help.
“The flight crews, the guys and girls in the blue suits, are what it is all about — those are the people out there getting it done,” Ward said. “We just try to give them the right tools and cut them loose to do the right thing. They have been absolutely amazing so far.”
Based on the success of the system so far, Ward added, “I think this will be a model for the future as well.”