March 10, 2011

Race legend Waltrip’s gift lets LifeFlight help EMS providers

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On hand at the debut of LifeFlight’s new delivery van were, from left, Clyde Prater of Williamson Medical Center EMS, Darrell Waltrip and Susie Jackson of Darrell Waltrip Automotive, and LifeFlight’s Jeanne Yeatman, MBA, R.N., EMT, and Dana Keele, EMT.

Race legend Waltrip’s gift lets LifeFlight help EMS providers

Ambulance services that come to Nashville hospitals from outlying counties often have to return home without valuable equipment that was left behind to stabilize patients.

Spine boards, straps and head immobilization devices are just some of the thousands of pieces of equipment left at Nashville area emergency departments.

Returning this equipment is often challenging, and the loss of equipment can be quite expensive for ambulance services.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight will soon begin delivering equipment back to EMS agencies in an effort to assist them.

Thanks to the generous donation of a van by Darrell Waltrip Automotive Group in Franklin, Dana Keele, EMT, outreach liaison, will be making regular equipment delivery rounds to counties in the LifeFlight service area.

“We are very excited to begin this new program and appreciate the assistance from Darrell Waltrip Automotive Group in helping make this happen,” said Jeanne Yeatman, R.N., EMT, director of LifeFlight.

“Darrell Waltrip Automotive is proud to be able to provide a van to assist Vanderbilt LifeFlight in their life-saving work in the Nashville and surrounding areas," said John Gallagher, General Manager, Darrell Waltrip Honda Volvo Subaru.

Initially the effort will focus on returning more than 300 pieces of equipment currently at Vanderbilt and once this is done, LifeFlight will pick up and return equipment left at other Nashville hospitals.

“We are thrilled that Vanderbilt is providing this service,” said Keith Douglas, director of Sumner County EMS. “Currently we have to send a part-time employee to Nashville at least once a week to retrieve equipment that EMS crews were unable to bring back at the time of their transport. This will allow us to utilize this employee more effectively with other tasks.

“I believe this is yet another great example of Vanderbilt's dedication to the EMS community and they are a tremendous partner for Sumner County EMS,” Douglas said.

Vanderbilt is the only hospital in Middle Tennessee to offer the personal delivery service.

Agencies that have special needs or urgent requests can e-mail

Once the initial equipment is returned, a regular schedule will be established so that EMS agencies can anticipate the day each week their equipment will arrive.

“With limited funds available to serve our communities, this service will make a positive impact in our system,” said Chad Graham, director of Bedford County EMS.