Leaders in Care
What is MedFlight?
Baptist Health MedFlight is a lifesaving air ambulance providing emergency transportation for the critically ill and injured. Whether responding to the scene of an accident or transporting live organs for transplant, MedFlight has been imperative for thousands of Arkansans and their loved ones.
Baptist Health’s air ambulance is a Eurocopter AS350, owned by Baptist Health and operated by Metro Aviation, a helicopter emergency medical services provider. Metro Aviation’s high quality standards require pilots to have an FAA Commercial License with additional instrument rating. They must also have a minimum of 2,500 flight hours and prior Emergency Medical Service experience.
MedFlight is the first air ambulance transportation service in Arkansas to obtain approval to perform Rapid Sequence Intubation in the field and the only Arkansas-based aeromedical service to transport Intra Aortic Balloon Pumps.
MedFlight is the first air medical service in the state of Arkansas to carry blood products to the patient in the pre-hospital setting. This program will allow MedFlight to carry blood products to the patient in need at the scene rather than delay treatment for patients suffering from hemorrhagic shock.
We have the capacity to treat patients at the scene or interfaciltiy transfer who are suffering from hemorrhagic shock. We are currently carrying 2 units of Packed Red Blood Cells (PRBCs) with anticipation of expanding our capacity to 4 units of PRBCs and 2 units of Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP). We work diligently with the Blood Bank to ensure our blood products are safe and are used in a timely manor prior to expiration. We carry our products in a transport system that ensures the products remain between 2-6 degrees celsius for up to 72 hours.
Who works on the MedFlight team?
Baptist Health’s MedFlight team consists of flight nurses and flight paramedics, board certified emergency physicians, flight coordinators, pilots and mechanics. As an extended service of Baptist Health, neonatal and high-risk labor and delivery specialty teams also use the MedFlight air ambulance.
MedFlight's communication center is staffed with flight coordinators who are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and are certified by the National Association of Air Medical Communication Specialists (NAACS). They are responsible for obtaining flight information for each request and monitoring the helicopter's flight path, utilizing a satellite tracking system. The communication center also serves as a physician referral call center for Baptist Health, assisting transferring hospitals and physicians in obtaining specialized care for the patients they serve.
Each crew member maintains their expertise by attending specialized training under the direction of MedFlight Medical Director Dr. Wayne Lyle. Our pilots have over 15,000 combined flight hours, are military trained and are either retired military or actively serving in the Arkansas National Guard.
Meet the Team
What are the patient outcomes?
Ben Gerrald, MedFlight Patient
“Two weeks prior to my 15th birthday, I was riding my grandpa’s three-wheeler for the first time. Of course, I had the throttle wide open and went through a curve without leaning to the inside. The ATV and I were both airborne briefly, with me landing first and the three-wheeler bouncing off of me. After I was driven back to my grandparent’s house, we all attempted to diagnose the pain in my abdomen, to determine if a visit to the emergency room in Danville, Arkansas, was needed (on Christmas day, no less).
After about 30 minutes, it was decided that we’d better go on to the hospital. I walked into the ER, but as they were taking my vitals, I began to experience severe nausea and vomited. My blood pressure, as I recall, dropped to around 40/20, and the ER doctor suspected a ruptured spleen. MedFlight was called, and I was given four units of blood while awaiting their arrival. My parents were faced with the hour and a half drive, not knowing if I had lived or died. We arrived at Baptist Health in about 20 minutes and two units of blood later, I was taken to the operating room, where my ruptured spleen was successfully removed.
In 1995, I got married and now have four daughters. I’ve spent the last ten years volunteering with the Salem Fire & Rescue, to be able to have an impact on the lives of others. My story would most certainly have ended at age 15, if not for MedFlight. I thank everyone at MedFlight, Baptist Health and my God for my life having been saved on Christmas day so long ago by people who I’m sure would have much rather been with their families.”