Being more than an hour away from Reno or other areas with hospitals that can offer advanced or specialize care, South Lyon Medical Center often relies on air ambulance services to transfer patients.
Its recent addition of American Medflight gives the hospital and its patients an additional option when transport is necessary.
South Lyon Medical Center in January partnered with American Medflight Air Ambulance, which has based an airplane and medical crew in Yerington that are available for emergency transport.
American Medflight offers medical transports in a fixed wing aircraft, rather than helicopters, which might be unable to fly in bad weather, particularly during high winds.
American Medflight’s crew consists of a pilot, a critical care nurse and a critical care paramedic. Their aircraft ensures that the patient will arrive quickly and safely. The Piper Cheyenne aircraft is capable of reaching 300 miles per hour. American Medflight’s fleet is able to fly in adverse weather conditions by going above most storms. They are able to fly at high altitudes in a climate-controlled environment, producing a comfortable flight experience. In some situations, a family member could accompany the patient on the flight.
Care Flight, which began operations in 1981 in Reno, has bases in Reno, Gardnerville and Truckee.
The agreement of American Medflight did not replace Care Flight but gives patients and the hospital an additional option, SLMC administrator Toni Inserra said.
She said Care Flight and American Medflight offer the same level of care but can operate under different conditions.
“Care Flight is still the fastest transfer if they are available. American Medflight can operate in weather conditions that rotor units cannot,” Inserra said. “Both have their own unique benefits and neither competes with the other.”
Inserra said Care Flight is still used for the largest percentage of the hospital’s flight transfers.
The decision whether to use Care Flight or American Medflight is based on physician and patient decision, weather conditions, medical condition.
“Care Flight is usually faster, but more limited by weather conditions,” Inserra said. “American Medflight is less expensive, and in a day in age where patients are concerned with high deductibles, this offers a choice. “It truly offers patients and physicians another choice and provides us a valuable resource in available emergency personnel.”
Having American Medflight based in Yerington also provides the hospital with an advanced emergency care team – a paramedic and emergency nurse – who can assist with any type emergencies.
“They have assisted us many times even when transport was by Care Flight,” Inserra said. “I see both Care Flight and American Medflight as vital members of our healthcare team.”
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