Medical helicopter partnership saving lives of COVID patients in rural Missouri


FARMINGTON, Mo. – During the last year, the helicopter team from St. Louis Children’s Hospital has shifted from providing pediatric transports in the area to also transporting adult patients who need advanced care for COVID-19.

BJC HealthCare facilities, like Parkland Health Center, have created a partnership with Air Methods unlike anything our region has seen. The increase in helicopter transportation has helped save lives in rural Missouri.

Parkland Health Center serves nearly five rural areas. With an influx of COVID-19 patients in need of advanced care but limited respirators in the area, a more efficient transportation method was needed to save lives.

“So, we’ve noticed a little bit of an increase in the number of patients that we’re seeing and transporting with the delta variant, but we’ve been able to serve those patients throughout this entire pandemic,” said David Hurd, flight operations supervisor for St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s transport team.

Facilities like Barnes-Jewish and Mercy can provide more extensive care than patients see in rural environments. Though the majority of transports have been COVID-related, the crews also deal with stroke and cardiac patients. And for good reason.

“The easiest answer is that we’re faster,” said Laura Moran, spokeswoman for Air Methods. “We can obviously lift up and we don’t have to worry about driving on roads or anything like that and we can lift from wherever we’re at and go straight where we need to go.”

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