Good Shepherd Medical Center and Trinity Mother Frances Hospital combine Flight for Life service

LONGVIEW – In a joint announcement, Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, Good Shepherd Medical Center and Champion EMS will be expanding Flight For Life medical air transportation service, beginning Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

Trinity Mother Frances' new, instrument-rated EC-145 helicopter will be stationed at the East Texas Regional Airport in Longview. Primarily serving Gregg and Harrison counties, this third aircraft in the Flight For Life squadron may be deployed to transport critically ill and injured patients in an area spanning from North Houston to Southern Oklahoma, and from near Waco into Arkansas and Louisiana. All told, the coverage area for Flight For Life will expand to roughly 100,000 square miles.

The Flight For Life program was originally developed by Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in December 1985. Flight For Life provides access in a critical care environment of critically ill and injured patients from isolated rural medical facilities and EMS agencies to more tertiary care centers such as Good Shepherd Medical Center and Trinity Mother Frances Hospital.

For almost 30 years, the Flight For Life program has answered the call for the rapid transport of at-risk, critical care patients from isolated rural medical facilities and EMS Agencies to the more advanced Level II Trauma Centers of Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler and Good Shepherd Medical Centers in Longview.

"This is an amazing addition to healthcare in Longview and throughout East Texas," said Ray Thompson, FACHE, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Trinity Mother France Hospitals and Clinics. "We are delighted to be able to offer this expanded service as part of our mission to enhance community health through service with compassion, excellence and efficiency. With this new aircraft, we are able to put the words of that pledge into action for the people of East Texas, bringing them the highest levels of care at the time they need it most."

"Both Good Shepherd Medical Center and Trinity Mother Frances take great pride in the high level of quality care we provide our patients in Gregg and Harrison Counties, and with this new helicopter service, we now also serve the nation," said Ron Short, Chief Administrative Officer, Good Shepherd Medical Center.

"Time is always crucial in times of emergencies and critical cases, and to have a third helicopter so strategically placed can make the a real difference in the lives of many patients," added Mr. Thompson. "Research has shown that getting patients treated with the first hour or "Golden Hour" after an accident or event result in better outcomes in the short and long-term," said Missie Pirtle, Director of Trauma/Designations, Good Shepherd Medical Center.

"The staff and management at Flight For Life are very enthusiastic about the opening on our new helicopter base, at the East Texas Regional Airport in Longview," said Scott Kunkel, Air Services Director for Flight For Life. "The addition of this third location to complement the aircraft, crews and resources based in Winnsboro and Palestine Texas will bring more immediate access to nationally ranked healthcare services in the region. Flight For Life will now reach over 100,000 square miles of the East Texas region. We are honored to play a part in continuing this tradition of access, service and care for the community."

"Flight For Life 3 will significantly enhance and improve the service to East Texas, both in trauma situations and with medical concerns," said Stan Holden, Chief Executive Officer, Champion EMS. "The expertise brought by the crews, pilots and medical staff will improve availability and access to critical care in East Texas. The placement of an aircraft at the East Texas Regional Airport will further enhance and expand services to hundreds of thousands of people."

Trinity Mother Frances and Good Shepherd Medical Center, along with Champion EMS, look forward to working more closely in the future for the continued improvement of emergency healthcare for the communities they serve.

Mother Frances Hospital Tyler and Good Shepherd Medical Center are both licensed, acute care facilities that include a Level II Trauma Center. Champion EMS provides high quality emergency medical service across twelve counties in East Texas.


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