A Day with LifeLinkIII

 The Anoka aircraft. Photo from LifeLinkIII.

The Anoka aircraft. Photo from LifeLinkIII.

Have you ever wondered about the air ambulances that transport critically ill patients from one facility to another? Thanks to my work at Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota, I had the opportunity to ride along with one of our local teams of flight clinicians - the fine folks at LifeLinkIII’s Anoka base.

At Children’s, we receive a lot of patients from the far reaches of the state by air ambulance. We have a pad on top of the building that brings patients right to our front door and on to the emergency room or the critical care units.

 LifeLinkIII has eight bases in Minnesota

LifeLinkIII has eight bases in Minnesota

LifeLinkIII has eight bases around Minnesota, and I spent the day at their Anoka base, which houses one rotor wing and one fixed wing. Each aircraft goes up with a pilot and two medical crew - a nurse and a paramedic. The distinction in air, though, is minimal, as both are equal partners in providing quality critical care for their patients.

When a call comes in from the communications team, the dispatchers radio the closest aircraft and depending on weather and availability, the crew hops in and gets on the way. During my visit, I was able to ride along on a call to Hibbing, MN, a town four hours north by car, or about 40 minutes by air. Within about 10 minutes, we were taxiing down the ramp to the runway, and a few moments after that we were clipping about 210 knots due north.

 The glass cockpit of the fixed wing aircraft

The glass cockpit of the fixed wing aircraft

Upon landing, the air crew is typically met by a local ambulance crew, taken to the local medical center to pick up the patient, and then back to the airport for departure.

It’s a pretty efficient, highly capable operation, and the crew I spent my time with have something like 30 years experience spread across the the two clinicians and the pilot. Pretty amazing.

It’s always a privilege to learn more about the systems that work to maintain the health and safety of our region’s citizens. Thanks for the opportunity, LifeLinkIII!