Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mercy Air Care celebrates 30 years of lifesaving flights



SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -   With more than nine thousand medical flights performed, Mercy Air Care, better known as MAC, is celebrating 30 years of life saving transportation for Siouxland.

Siouxland's critically injured patients who need the fastest transportation possible rely on Mercy Air Care, also known as MAC. Mac offers regional helicopter service for a 100-mile radius around Siouxland at speeds of 160 mph. 

"Our criteria for trauma activation is based on the type of injury or on the how stable the patient is when they come in. But usually when they come in by air they are a more severely injured patient so it is more likely to be a code red or a highest trauma activation," said Craig Nemechek, Medical Director, Mercy Air Care

When a call comes in, MAC can be airborne within 10 minutes.

"Mac gets about 70 requests per month, they accept just about half. 

The deciding factors are weather, fuel load and of course, if they are already on a call. Because of the advanced, life-saving equipment on board, the helicopter is often referred to as a flying intensive care unit. 

"In the air they can perform many needs of the patient or any service of the patient that they would require if they were lying in the back of an ambulance, it's just smaller quarters to perform them in, the good news is that you don't have to go looking for anything because everything is within arms reach," said Mickey Sauser, Program Director, Mercy Air Care.

On board there is the pilot, one nurse and one paramedic.

Medical staff says that clear communication to the waiting hospital staff is critical.

'We get a very good idea of the mechanism of injury and we can mobilize the appropriate before the appropriate staff before the patient even gets to the hospital," continued Nemechek. 

MAC also serves parts of Sioux Falls, Des Moines and Omaha, it also has a global positioning system which allows pilots to determine their exact position and distance from their intended landing zone.

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