By Staff Writer | June 1, 2009
PUBLIC SERVICE | EMS
The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) has launched a public education campaign regarding the importance of helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS); particularly in rural and other under-served areas. But AAMS Executive Director Dawn Mancuso denies that the campaign is taking advantage of actress Natasha Richardson’s death by launching the campaign now. The wife of actor Liam Neeson, Richardson suffered a traumatic brain injury after falling on a Quebec ski slope. The lack of government-run HEMS transport in that province has been cited as a factor in her not receiving adequate medical care in time.
"The timing is good," Mancuso told Rotor & Wing, but launching this campaign has been an "ongoing objective for our organization for the past two to three years." Still, all the press that HEMS has received due to Richardson’s death has made the public "more attuned to listening to information about the air medical community," she admitted.
Among the messages AAMS wants to get across is that critically ill and injured patients are airlifted once every 90 seconds in the United States. In addition, AAMS said medevac helicopters provide a higher level of medical care and faster response times than ground ambulances. The crews have higher levels of training with physician-level capabilities; often providing patients in rural areas with better care than is available on the ground, plus fast access to urban medical facilities.