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Vidalia Welcomes Air Evac Lifeteam
Friday, 02 July 2010

July 1--  Vidalia officially welcomed a new air ambulance service to the Sweet Onion City Thursday.


Local government, civic and medical officials were on hand for the ribbon-cutting of the Air Evac Lifeteam station at Vidalia Regional Airport.

The company has three other locations in Georgia and specializes in serving rural communities with helicopter ambulances.  Meadows Regional Medical Center CEO Alan Kent says it will save lives in our area.

"When a person has severe trauma or a cardiac event which requires transport to a tertiary care center in Savannah or Augusta, we previously had to wait on an in-bound flight which was an additional delay.  Having this helicopter based in our community is going to reduce that transportation time by a significant amount and ultimately save lives in this community," Kent said.

Air Evac Lifeteam operates in 14 states and has over a hundred medivac choppers.  Andy Arthurs, it's Chief Operating Officer, says each helicopter is staffed and equipped to act as a flying emergency room.

"We have a nurse and a paramedic and a pilot who are on the aircraft 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Not only are they experienced emergency medical people but they have also gone through our critical care training.  In the back of that aircraft, we have much of the same equipment that you would find in an emercency room.  So they can start that care in the field and we are a flying Intensive Care Unit (ICU), if you will," Arthurs says.

Mel Kelly, who formerly headed the Toombs-Montgomery EMS, is the local manager of the air evac service.  It's currently located at the Vidalia Airport, but will relocate adjacent to Meadows Regional Medical Center when the construction of the new hospital on Highway 280 is completed.

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