MedSTAR Transport Facts
August 18, 2003
·The first MedSTAR Transport flight occurred on July 3, 1983 when a spinal-cord injury patient was flown from Prince William, Va. Hospital to Washington Hospital Center.
·MedSTAR Transport was the first hospital-based air medical service in the Washington area and nearly 40,000 patients have been safely flown since its inception. That compares to a dozen transport-related incidents nationwide during 2002.
·MedSTAR is an acronym for Medical Shock Trauma Acute Resuscitation. The Commission on the Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems accredits MedSTAR Transport.
·The initial emphasis of MedSTAR Transport was ferrying trauma patients from the District of Columbia and northern Virginia to Washington Hospital Center. Its current service area extends from West Virginia to New Jersey to Pennsylvania to central Virginia.
·The MedSTAR Transport team has a staff of 80 including pilots, flight nurses and paramedics, communications specialists and mechanics.
·The standard flight crew consists of a pilot, a critical-care flight nurse and a critical-care paramedic. Additional crew, including a physician or respiratory therapist, can be added as needed.
·MedSTAR Transport flight paramedics, who have received specialized training in communications, staff the communications center.
·MedSTAR Transport flight nurses rotate staffing the trauma unit, caring for a wide variety of trauma and surgical patients.
·Ninety-two percent of MedSTAR Transport flights are inter-hospital transports of critically ill or critically injured patients. Eight percent of flights involve persons who are injured in vehicular accidents.
·Approximately 1,300 cardiac patients are transferred to Washington Hospital Center each year from 60 hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region via helicopter and ambulance.
·BK-117 helicopter serial no. 7-003 was MedSTAR Transport’s first helicopter. It was the third aircraft of its type to be built and the first utilized for emergency medical services (EMS) in the United States. A second BK-117 helicopter, serial no. 7-011, was added in 1988.
·BK-117 is limited to visual flight rules (VFR) conditions. The aircraft has cruising speeds of up to 125 knots and has ranges of 120 miles with normal fuel supplies.
·The Hospital Center purchased its first aircraft in 2000. The EC-135, serial no. N135MH, is a single-pilot instrument flight rules (SPIFR) and was the first SPIFR certified EC-135 operated in the United States.
·EC-135 serial no. N135MH responded to both the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 and the tornado that touched down in La Plata, Md., in April 28, 2002.
·A second SPIFR EC-135, serial no. N136MH, was added to the MedSTAR Transport fleet in 2001 and a third SPIFR EC-135, serial no. N137MH, went into service in 2003 and the BK-117 helicopter that had been used since 1983 was retired.
·The three SPIFR EC-135 aircraft are based at sites in Maryland – Charles County, Frederick County and Talbot County. They have cruising speeds of up to 140 knots and have ranges of 180 miles with normal fuel supplies. Maintenance and communications facilities are located at Tipton Airport at Fort Meade, Md.
·The aircraft carry advanced life support equipment at all times: cardiac and blood pressure monitors, defibrillator, ventilator, oxygen, external pacemakers, IVS and intubations supplies. Additional equipment is brought on board as needed.
·MedSTAR Transport aircraft have been featured on the covers of magazines including Business Aviation Magazine, Rotor and Wing Magazine and the Journal of AirMedical Transport, along with the Metropolitan Life section of The Washington Times on Dec. 11, 2000.
·Ted Chittick, who retired from the U.S. Park Police, selected the first helicopter in the fleet (BK-117 serial no. 7-003). The BK-117 became the most popular aircraft worldwide for EMS work. Both Ted and BK-117 #7-003 are retiring this year. Ted was also the MedSTAR pilot who transported patient Racquel Kelley from the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
·Maryland State Senator John Astle, Lt. Col. USMC retired, was a former MedSTAR Transport pilot. Sen. Astle is vice chairman on the Maryland senate’s finance committee. He is a Vietnam veteran and was one of former President Nixon’s Marine One helicopter pilots.
·Current pilot Bill Tarbutton, Lt. Col. USMC retired, was a command pilot for Marine One serving former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Tarbutton led the mission that rescued downed F-16 pilot Scott O’Grady, who was shot down over Bosnia in 1996.
·Current pilot Darryl Johnson, Capt. U.S. Army retired, flew several helicopter missions during the Vietnam conflict.
·Ronald Nimblett, CWO U.S. Army retired, is a Vietnam conflict veteran and is MedSTAR Transport’s current chief pilot. Nimblett is also president-elect of the National EMS Pilots Association.
·MedSTAR Transport pilots average more than 5,000 flight hours and have extensive emergency medical services training.