Can LIFE STAR fly in bad weather?
Safety is always first. LIFE STAR is a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) program. This holds us to strict weather minimums set by the FAA and our program to ensure safe operations.
Does LIFE STAR only bring patients back to Hartford Hospital?
LIFE STAR follows the State of Connecticut guidelines for trauma scene patients by bringing patients to the closest appropriate designated trauma center. For inter-facility patients, the referring physician arranges the patient’s receiving facility. Therefore, LIFE STAR transports patients to many hospitals, including Hartford Hospital.
Does LIFE STAR only take care of trauma patients?
LIFE STAR cares for a wide variety of patients that include: 39% trauma, 25% cardiac, 14% pediatric, 24% acute medical including neonatal and high risk OB.
If a call to LIFE STAR is cancelled, does a bill still get sent to the requesting hospital, fire department, or ambulance service?
There is NO charge to any requesting agency at any time if the aircraft is cancelled for any reason.
Does LIFE STAR only fly in Connecticut?
Although the majority of flights are within Connecticut, LIFE STAR can fly up to a radial distance of 150 nautical miles and will accept flights within that area if needed. This includes all of Connecticut and places as far away as New Jersey; New York City, NY; Block Island, RI; Boston, MA; Albany, NY; and areas of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.
LIFE STAR only flies fast and does not offer any additional services to those provided by Paramedic ground teams, is that true?
While LIFE STAR does offer the advantage of speed the all-important difference is within the crew configuration. The LIFE STAR crew consists of a Registered Nurse and Registered Respiratory Therapist. Medical crewmembers also hold a Paramedic license and have at least 3 years of critical care experience prior to hire. Most crewmembers have years of previous paramedic experience in addition to their nursing or respiratory therapy credentials. The medical crew is certified in ACLS, PALS and NRP. Education for staff is continually on going and includes: ICU rotations, advanced pediatric and adult airway management, “high risk, low frequency” simulations in the Connecticut Simulation Center, monthly education, and annual skills lectures and practice sessions. There is a very rigorous continuing quality assurance program where 100% of patient charts are reviewed with the Program Medical Director. Any issues or educational cases are presented and discussed to the entire group during a bi-monthly QI discussion. Each LIFE STAR aircraft carries equipment that allows true continual critical care monitoring and treatment such as found in an ICU setting. This includes a critical care transport ventilator, cardiac monitor capable of transducing invasive pressure lines; continuous end tidal CO2, a transvenous pacemaker, several IV pumps, a transport intra-aortic balloon pump, and ventricular assist devices (VADS).
Is it safe to place patients with a closed head injury or chest trauma in a helicopter? Could the altitude during flight will cause more injury?
Except in extremely rare cases, any altitude change does not affect patients transported on LIFE STAR. It is uncommon that the minimal altitude change that happens in LIFE STAR to have an important effect on the patient. The flight team is educated in the physical laws that describe the effects of altitude and can implement strategies to manage those patients.
If a patient is in traumatic arrest can/should LIFE STAR still be called?
LIFE STAR will transport a patient in cardiac arrest from a scene if the patient does not meet presumption of death criteria, or there are extenuating circumstances. It is true that LIFE STAR will not leave a referring facility with a patient in arrest. Instead the crew will work with the Hospital staff and assist where needed to get a return of spontaneous circulation and then proceed to the accepting facility.