Colorado is home to some of the most active residents in the nation, and while that’s a benefit for most, the mountainous locations can make for a tricky situation if someone needs medical help.
After years of fundraising Flight For Life …
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After years of fundraising Flight For Life Colorado, headquartered in St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, has a new Airbus As350 B3e Emergency Medical Helicopter to assist in medical emergencies.
“It made look like our other helicopters but it’s got a bigger engine, which gives us an increased safety margin,” said Rod Balak, aviation manager with Flight for Life. “It has a great new autopilot feature for us that doesn’t add much to the weight of the helicopter.”
The St. Anthony Health Foundation and Summit Medical Center Foundation both led the charge to raise the $1 million needed to purchase the Airbus.
According to information provided by Flight Fore life, the medical interior of the new craft includes United Rotorcraft’s Articulating Litter Loading System (ALLS) to easily load and secure critically injured patients and neonatal isolettes for transport. On board medical systems include liquid oxygen (LOX), compressed air, suction, mounts to accommodate carry-on medical equipment as well as an abundance of AC power. The interior lighting is fully night vision system compatible.
The new helicopter will be stationed at the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, according to Balak. Its speed and range will allow it to cover the western front range as well as ski areas near Aspen and Steamboat.
No one knows the importance of Flight For Life in that area than Brittany Gilbert, who made use of its services after getting into a bicycle accident in Breckenridge.
“The accident was in August 2012 and I was taken to the hospital in Frisco by Flight For Life before being taken to the St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood to get treated,” she said. “It was at that hospital that I first found out I was pregnant.”
To reduce the swelling on her brain, Gilbert eventually had to get 25 percent of her skull removed for a period of three months. She maintained good health during her pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy son, now 17 months old.
“It’s such an honor for me to speak about this, because in a way it’s kind of closure for me,” she said. “It’s mind-blowing to me what the doctors and nurses were able to do for me.”
For Balak and the pilots he works with, the new Airbus helicopter will give doctors and nurses more chances to save lives.
“With the more power we now have, we’ll be able to get to some of the places that can be the worst to land,” he said. “The focus of all of this is the patient.”
For more information visit www.flightforlife.com.
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