A History of HealthNet Aeromedical Services - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

A History of HealthNet Aeromedical Services

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MORGANTOWN -

HealthNet Aeromedical Services said the time saved by air transport can be a critical factor in medical treatment and patient survival. It saves those minutes when they matter the most.

"HealthNet is an aeromedical service that provides pre-hospital transports to get critically ill patients to and from their destination," said Valerie Hanlon, Director of Emergency Services at WVU Healthcare.

The first aircraft came to Ruby Memorial Hospital in 1986.

"Since then it has taken off and we have approximately eight bases now," said Steve Ashcraft, Flight Paramedic. "Six of which are located in the state of West Virginia."

HealthNet can be called for multiple reasons.

"It's basically a miniature ICU," Ashcraft said. "Take patients from scene flights, bring them back to this hospital which provides them all of the services they would probably need.

HealthNet said it can get a patient to a hospital a lot faster than an ambulance could.

"We can go to the scene, get that patient, and stop that one to two hour transport and take that patient 20 minutes to that facility where they need to be," Hanlon said. "We can take care of them in what normally would take a two hour process."

The moment the call comes in, it's not long until liftoff.

Having six aircrafts in West Virginia makes it easy to get to each destination quickly.

"You have someone sitting right in Buckhannon. They can get to Elkins, Buckhannon, Weston," Ashcraft said. "They can cover North Central West Virginia a lot quicker then we can get there. Our range is probably 100 nautical miles."

Employees said the most unique thing about the aircraft is the immediate care the patient receives once he or she is on board.

"At a minimum you'll have a nurse, a medic, and the pilot," Hanlon said. "In some cases you would have a physician coming with them at that time, too."

HealthNet said it provides families with one less worry while their loved ones are in the air.

"The experience, the quality, and the safety," Ashcraft said. "HealthNet Aeromedical is accident free for the number of years it has been in service."