Historically, the majority of our flights have been "on-scene" responses, actually landing at the scene of a serious trauma, accident or medical emergency. Timely intervention has been proven to dramatically improve patient outcomes.
Proper preparation and control of on-scene landing sites is critical to the safe execution of a Mercy Flight mission. We depend upon local First Responders to identify and secure safe landing sites, notify the Mercy Flight crew of any relevant hazards, prepare the patient for transport and assist in loading them on the helicopter.
Recently, we have seen an increase in requests for interfacility transfers where a patient must be transferred from one hospital to another with a higher level of specialized care. These patients typically require advanced care during transport and minimized out-of-hospital time that is not possible by ground ambulance. Increasingly, we are flying more stroke and cardiac-related patients from rural hospitals to hospitals in Buffalo and Rochester where they can receive specialized care.
Whether our patient is coming from the scene of an accident or a hospital bed, we couldn't complete our mission without local First Responders and Health Care Providers. We rely on them to make the determination that helicopter transport is necessary, to secure the landing zone, to advise us of the patient's condition, prepare the patient for transport and to transfer the patient and their care to our Medical Flight Crew.