Source: Enbridge Media Release, August 19, 2019 

Faster transport time creates ‘better outcomes’ for urgent care patients

When an injury is serious or a life is on the line, every minute counts.

Time saved by helicopters and aircraft — outfitted as mobile Intensive Care Units and staffed by highly trained paramedics — can mean the difference between life and death; full recovery or permanent damage.

That explains the vital role played by medical transport services like STARS (Shock Trauma Rescue Society) helicopters and Saskatchewan Air Ambulance for those living in rural communities, working in remote areas, travelling on highways or being transported from community hospitals to major medical centres.

“This is a vital service to communities all across the province,” says Marlene Leith, Chair of the Rosetown and District Health Centre Foundation. “Patients in need of a higher level of care will have better outcomes if the delay in getting specialized care is reduced as much as possible.”

The towns of Rosetown, Kerrobert and the RM of Moosomin are sharing $60,000 in Safe Community grants from Enbridge, which will go toward constructing new landing facilities for aerial medical transport in central and southern Saskatchewan.

In fact, Rosetown’s new STARS helipad is already complete and addresses the difficulties and delays the air crews were experiencing in inclement weather, which impacted response time and made landing on pods in the mud a challenge and a safety risk. The new facility also features a paved walkway, replacing a gravel path that made it less than smooth to push patients in gurneys to and from the hospital to the helicopter.

“It’s a very, very worthwhile project that is greatly appreciated by our community and the
surrounding area – everybody’s absolutely thrilled that it’s all done thanks to the financial
support of companies like Enbridge.”

In Kerrobert, a local committee is in the final stages of securing land for a STARS helipad
beside the town’s new Integrated Community Health Centre.

“This helipad will enable STARS to land right at the hospital and eliminate our EMS (Emergency Medical Services) staff having to transport patients to the airport for pick up,” explains committee member Quinton St. Pierre. “There’s not an abundant supply of EMS staff in rural areas and this will eliminate an ambulance being tied up in case of a second call.

“The helipad will also be a huge benefit in the event there is a major incident in our area,” he adds. “We are a long ways from a major center and this will provide a huge lifeline for the entire area surrounding Kerrobert.”

Meanwhile, in Moosomin the Enbridge funds will go toward an estimated $7-million airport
landing strip anticipated to be operational by the fall of 2020.

Use of the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance service (which runs a fleet of four Beechcraft Super King airplanes) is needed in Moosomin due to its distance from Saskatoon, where all children 17 and under and stroke patients must be cared for under the mandate of Saskatchewan Health. Currently, the airport is equipped with only a short gravel landing strip and air ambulances are only able to land in perfect conditions. STARS helicopters also service Moosomin but cannot reach Saskatoon without stopping to refuel in Regina.

“That’s why the project began and why it’s so important for this area,” says Kendra Lawrence, Administrator with the RM. “We have 14 surrounding communities onboard with this project right now, including some just across the border in Manitoba.

“With the current landing strip, the air ambulance can only land 10 to 20 percent of the time,” she adds. “When we change to this longer strip and we make it pavement, it raises that bar to 90 to 95 percent.”

Image Source: Global News  

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