When a patient is transported aboard EagleMed from either a scene of an accident or from a hospital, there are three people in the helicopter to help that patient. There is the pilot who flies the helicopter, but there is also a paramedic and an RN.
“We have pretty much all of the equipment that you would find in an ICU or ER,” said Amy Boultinghouse, RN and clinical supervisor for EagleMed. “The experience can be difficult at times, but it is rewarding more often than not. It is a challenging critical environment that we have highly trained flight nurses, paramedics and pilots that we are able to take excellent care of our patients.”
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, EagleMed celebrated 10 years of service with Freeman Health System. They were at Freeman Neosho Hospital for not only a cookout with hospital employees, but also showed their helicopter to the community.
Those in attendance could ask the flight crew questions about the helicopter, which is located at Freeman West Hospital, Joplin, but services the area including Neosho. EagleMed is operated out of Wichita, Kan.
Philip Denning is the lead pilot with EagleMed. Three other pilots serve the area as well.
“I have been with EagleMed for 10 years, but have been doing this for 14 years,” he said. “I am the authority and the responsible person for that helicopter and that flight. Med crew does their magic with the patient. From the time that we walk to the helicopter until I park again, I am totally responsible for the entire conduct of the helicopter in all situations, weather and that sort of thing.”
Asked if it was hard to fly, Denning said, “it is more difficult than a fixed wing, the hovering is the hardest part, because you have three controls. Once you get to flying, it flies similar to a fixed wing plane.”
Denning said he has done flights in both the daytime and at night.
“The minimum distance that they recommend in the daytime is 60 foot diameter and 100 foot at nighttime,” he said.
Prior to the cookout, there was a landing zone course for emergency services personnel.
Marty Mitchell, marketing representative for EagleMed, in a previous article with the Neosho Daily News, said “Basically what we cover, there is just safety when you are landing the helicopter, there is a lot of things to consider, whether it is a scene flight or we are landing at the hospital on the helipad. Most people have been through this course probably and it is a good refresher, a good reminder of just those things that you need to be aware of as a helicopter does approach its destination, how to safely load a patient or unload a patient.”
At 11:30 a.m. while conducting an interview, Denning received a medical call for the helicopter crew.
Within a matter of minutes, they were in the air, off toward their destination.