July 28, 2016

Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s Cookeville Base to Open Aug. 2

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s LifeFlight will open its Cookeville, Tennessee, base on August 2, 2016. The new base, in partnership with Cookeville Regional Medical Center, is LifeFlight’s seventh helicopter base in Tennessee.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s LifeFlight will open its Cookeville, Tennessee, base on August 2, 2016. The new base, in partnership with Cookeville Regional Medical Center, is LifeFlight’s seventh helicopter base in Tennessee.

(Terry Wyatt / Vanderbilt University)
(Terry Wyatt / Vanderbilt University)

The new base will employ 11 medical flight crew members, four pilots and two mechanics.

Tim Hurst, MSN, R.N., FNP-BC, CCRN, AEMT, a graduate of Tennessee Technological University, has been named base manager and chief flight nurse for the Cookeville base.

Hurst has been a flight nurse with Vanderbilt LifeFlight since 1997. He holds a Master’s of Science in Nursing from Tennessee Tech, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Eastern Kentucky University. He is a licensed Family Nurse Practitioner.

The base, located at 4570 South Jefferson Avenue, Cookeville, Tenn., will serve the Upper Cumberland region. A brand new Airbus H130 T2 helicopter will service the area and will cover a 120-mile response area from Cookeville.

The Airbus H130 provides for 360 degree access to the patient, flies at approximately 140 MPH, and has a wide, unobstructed cabin with large hinged and sliding doors, which enables easy loading and unloading of a stretcher.

Cookeville Regional Medical Center is a national award-winning, state-of-the-art regional medical center that serves the 14-county Upper Cumberland region. Services offered include interventional cardiology, cardiovascular/thoracic surgery, robotic surgery, neurosurgery, critical care and complex cancer treatment.

Advanced Procedures Performed by LifeFlight in the Field

Aboard each LifeFlight aircraft the medical personnel includes a team comprised of either a critical care nurse and nurse, or a team comprised of a nurse and critical care paramedic. At times a team may include a critical care nurse and emergency medicine physician. All nurse helicopter crew members are dual licensed as both an R.N. and EMT-Paramedic, or as an EMT with multi-state licenses. LifeFlight nurses have an average of 10 years of experience in emergency and/or critical care.

The orientation period for all new LifeFlight medical crew members is more than eight months. Training includes gathering experience in all clinical care areas at VUMC and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, including the Adult and Pediatric Emergency Departments, Coronary Care Unit, Trauma Center, Regional Burn Center, Neurology/Neurosurgery ICU, Pediatric ICU, Emergency Obstetrics and Respiratory Care. Training includes a quarterly surgical skills lab where invasive procedures such as chest tube placement, cricothryroidotomy, pericardiocentesis and femoral line insertion are taught.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s nurses, EMTs and paramedics are experienced in providing advanced medical procedures in flight, including the ability to perform laboratory blood work, insert chest tubes, and implement surgical airways. Every helicopter carries two units of Type O negative blood, and crews administer blood on more than ten percent of trauma patients transported.

Since 1984 Vanderbilt LifeFlight, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Trauma Systems (CAMTS), has flown more than 40,000 patients.  LifeFlight transports to any medically appropriate hospital and has immediate access to the region’s only Level I Trauma Center, Regional Burn Center and comprehensive Children’s Hospital, all at Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight provides hospital-based emergency air medical transport services throughout Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, with remote helicopter bases in Lebanon, Tullahoma, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Mt. Pleasant and Henry County, Tenn. LifeFlight also operates an airplane base at Nashville International Airport and has five ground ambulances as well as an Event Medicine Division.

Air Methods Corporation provides aviation, fuel, maintenance, aircraft, dispatch, billing and EMS licensure while VUMC provides all medical staffing, patient care and clinical services for Vanderbilt LifeFlight.

OmniAdvantage Membership Program-Air Methods, which operates the LifeFlight helicopters, offers a national membership program called OmniAdvantage which includes Vanderbilt LifeFlight. Memberships are honored by any Air Methods program or partner throughout the United States.  Air Methods operates more than 400 EMS aircraft with close to 300 bases serving 48 states.  The OmniAdvantage membership plan costs $49 annually, providing coverage to the member, their spouse/partner, dependent children under the age of 26, and dependent live-in and insured adults. A special annual rate of $39 is provided to AAA members and groups of 10 or more. Due to federal regulations, Air Methods cannot honor another company’s membership plan. However, membership is not required to utilize Air Methods services, and an individual may have memberships with both companies.

Air Methods Corporation (www.airmethods.com) is the global leader in air medical transportation. The Air Medical Services Division is the largest provider of air medical transport services in the United States. The United Rotorcraft Division specializes in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. The Tourism Division is comprised of Sundance Helicopters, Inc. and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, which provide helicopter tours and charter flights in the Las Vegas/Grand Canyon region and Hawaii, respectively. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features over 450 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

Cookeville Regional Medical Center- Serving the area since 1950, Cookeville Regional Medical Center has grown to be the region’s health care provider of choice and is the flagship hospital for the Cookeville Regional Health System that also includes Cumberland River Hospital and Cookeville Regional Medical Group. Cookeville Regional Medical Center is a progressive 247-bed regional referral center serving more than 350,000 residents in the Upper Cumberland region of middle Tennessee.  With over 200 physicians in 40 different medical and surgical specialties, Cookeville Regional offers patients here the same kind of care that they could expect in a larger metropolitan area including specialty care such as cardiology, electrophysiology, cardiac and thoracic surgery, vascular surgery, pulmonology, cancer treatment, orthopedics, physical rehabilitation and neurosurgery. Cookeville Regional has been named one of the 100 Great Community Hospitals by Becker’s Hospital Review two years in a row.