October 23, 1998

LifeFlight lands new record

LifeFlight lands new record

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(Photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

LifeFlight has set a new record for the number of flights and patients transported.

During September, the two helicopters that make up Vanderbilt University Medical Center's air ambulance service flew 164 flights and transported a total of 171 patients. The previous record since the program began operating with two aircraft was 133 patients flown, which was reached during October of 1997.

LifeFlight program director Linda Passini attributes the growing success of the program to several factors.

"We have a very aggressive educational outreach program where our flight nurses go out and work with emergency medical services staff and hospital nurses in our area of coverage," she said.

In addition to the outreach program, the service of the second aircraft has now increased from 12 to 16 hours per day. The newer aircraft, officially in service since April of last year, is instrument flight rated (IFR), allowing for flights that were missed before due to lower visibility or lower cloud ceilings.

In addition to the new record number of flights and patients transported for a one-month period, LifeFlight tripled the number of cardiac transports made compared with the same month last year.

"We have been working very hard to improve customer service, and I think that has been a big plus for us," Passini said.