When TMH’s Survival Flight team gets a call, there’s only one thought in their mind.
“Do everything we can to save that person’s life,” flight nurse Jacqueline Carr said.
And there’s not a single second to spare.
“We’re off the ground within minutes,” flight nurse Trent Robinson said. “Because time is of the essence.”
Robinson says Survival Flight is a game-changer for critical care in Tallahassee, allowing nurses and medics to quickly reach patients in rural communities that aren’t easily accessible via ambulance.
“Whether you’re having a heart attack or stroke or you’re involved in a traumatic injury, your care is going to be a lot quicker,” Robinson said.
And now, Survival Flight is certified to carry blood on its helicopters. Nurses can administer life-saving transfusions while they’re in the air.
“In the past, we used to only give IV fluids in the field,” Robinson said. “Now we can use blood and give you a blood transfusion before you get to the hospital.”
Survival Flight often responds to patients who have lost a lot of blood due to a traumatic injury, like a car accident.
“Being able to give that blood before they get to the hospital a lot of times can save their lives,” Robinson said.
Survival Flight is the first helicopter service based at TMH in about a decade.
Flight nurse Jacqueline Carr says the job is indescribable.
“I worked in the ER, but this is a whole different experience,” Carr said.
She and her teammate Kyle Klueber work in an incredibly small space.
“You don’t have a doctor, you don’t have nursing staff,” Carr said. “You literally just have you and your parademic in this small, confined space.”
They say it’s a team effort and a job that constantly keeps them on their toes.
“There’s literally no job as awesome as this,” Klueber said.
Still, it comes with challenges.
For Robinson, the worst calls are ones involving children. He says every time he responds to a call like that, he goes home and hugs his kids.
“We see a lot of terrible things out here,” Robinson said. “It makes you appreciate life, appreciate every day.”
Survival Flight can’t do the work they do without blood donations.
The team encourages everyone to consider donating blood to ensure that they can continue to provide life-saving treatment to patients.