San Bernardino County, US-based Mercy Air announced the opening of a new medical care base in Barstow, San Bernardino on 4 February.
Mercy Air is a division of Air Methods, an air medical service that provides life-saving care to more than 70,000 people every year. The new base, Mercy Air 66, which will be located immediately across from the current Barstow Hospital, will provide essential and emergency care services to people throughout Barstow and the surrounding communities.
Leo Eusebio, Emergency Department Director at Barstow Community Hospital, said: "Having Mercy Air located at the former hospital across the street from the current hospital facility will be an asset to emergency care for our community members. There are times when we need to stabilise a patient at Barstow Community Hospital and transfer them to a higher level of care. In these life-saving situations, minutes count. Having Mercy Air's emergency air ambulance basically on site could mean the difference between life and death."
The centre will prove invaluable, enabling quick-response care in life-threatening situations – significantly improving the outcome of clot-busting medication administered by advanced medical teams shortly after major strokes being just one of the merits. Barstow Fire Chief Jamie Williams said: "I believe this community-based helicopter programme is a critical service that will provide our citizens with the best opportunity to reach a trauma centre within the critical golden hour to help reduce response times during life threatening emergencies."
Mercy Air 66 will be staffed by 14 crew members, including pilots, flight nurses, flight paramedics and mechanics, and it will operate a Bell 407 helicopter. "We understand that ongoing changes in healthcare are affecting access for patients. From accidents to interfacility missions, our goal is to make sure life-saving care is available at a moment's notice," said Jason Johnston, Air Methods Area Manager. "With this new base, we are supporting the Barstow community and providing patients and residents with the peace of mind that we are here when they need us the most."