Air ambulances cut down on transport time for dire situations

VIDEO: Air ambulances cut down on transport time for dire situations

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - During the holidays there tends to be more cars on the road, and sometimes more accidents. At times the best way to get a person to the hospital is by helicopter.

More than 550,000 people in the United States use air ambulance services every year, according to the Association of Air Medical Services.

Trident Medical Center sees around 60 to 70 air medical transfers a year.

The helicopters are typically used in urgent situations or when someone has extreme injuries.

"Air medical evacuation or transport cuts down on that time and it brings increased resources to the scene of an accident," said Dr. William Dutton who is the medical director for Trident Medical's Trauma Center.

Dutton says there are multiple ways that the transport vehicle calls the hospital to let them know they are bringing the patient.

He says the air medical transport itself brings a higher level of resources to the scene of an accident.

There are some cons to being air lifted.

The cost of transportation could be tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes it would also be faster to get someone in an ambulance than it would be to load up the helicopter.

The air lifts provide a big help to rural communities that need to get to another hospital quickly. Trident Medical receives trauma patients from Colleton Medical Center in Walterboro.

“Some of those can be transferred by vehicle but some need to be transferred more acutely,” Dutton said. “So we utilize air transport from Colleton once they’ve been seen and initially evaluated to Trident.”

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.