WellmontOne Obtains New Helicopter With Additional Safety,
Speed And Efficiency To Enhance Care In Region
WellmontOne Air Transport has acquired a faster and more
fuel-efficient helicopter that will provide additional safety measures and
amenities to enhance the high-quality emergency care for which it has always
received widespread respect.
The snazzy Bell 407 went into service earlier this month and
enables pilots and crew members to continue serving the region with distinction
through new technology. It will make flying the aircraft even better for those
who play a valuable role in rescuing patients facing some of the most traumatic
and life-endangering injuries and illnesses.
Wellmont Health System showed off the new helicopter during
a news conference on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at the WellmontOne base at Bristol Motor
“This is an excellent new helicopter that will build on the
superior care we are privileged to deliver patients in Northeast Tennessee and
Southwest Virginia,” said Greg Neal, interim president of Bristol Regional
Medical Center who oversees WellmontOne’s operations. “The high-caliber
equipment, combined with the tremendous skills shown daily by our medical
providers and the pilots, will continue to assure residents of this region they
are in excellent hands should they need emergency air transport.”
This aircraft, built by the same company that owns a
facility in Piney Flats, can fly about 10 miles per hour faster than its
predecessor and has a quicker lift off the ground with one less engine. The new
helicopter, which operates with an engine built by Rolls-Royce, burns much less
fuel, reducing environmental impact and creating valuable cost savings that can
be applied to patient care.
Additional features include a traffic collision avoidance
system that alerts the pilot to other traffic in the vicinity and a radar
altimeter that measures the altitude of an aircraft above the terrain over
which it is flying.
The helicopter also has improved rear visibility that
enables flight nurses and paramedics to assist the pilot in looking for
obstructions. Plus, the helicopter also has a computerized start system that
has simplified the process for the pilot and an improved navigational system.
As was the case with the previous aircraft, the Bell 407 is
equipped with night-vision goggles.
PHI Air Medical provides the helicopter, pilots and mechanics,
while Wellmont supplies the medical equipment and medical providers. Wellmont
also supports the medical operations of the Med-Flight II program, which is run
by the Virginia State Police.
“Time and safety are crucial in the delivery of emergency
medical care, so we are able to partner with Wellmont to obtain this
outstanding helicopter that will achieve both needs,” said Sean O’Neal, regional
director of cooperative programs for PHI. “Our patients rely on us at all hours
of the day, so it is essential to have the best helicopter possible to
successfully transport our patients right away to the care they need.”
Anita Ashby, Wellmont’s system director of flight services,
who supervises the flight team, is thrilled with the many attributes this
helicopter will bring to the region. But she is just as proud that the delivery
of care onboard and at the scene will remain at the same high level.
Paramedics and nurses can complete and transmit 12-lead
electrocardiograms and have the same cardiac monitors and defibrillators that
are used in the emergency departments at Wellmont hospitals. Some of the other
pieces of equipment include a ventilator, respiratory equipment, core
temperature monitoring equipment, advanced and surgical airway supplies and an
abundance of critical care medications.
“Whatever the age or condition of our patients might be, we
are prepared to give them prompt, highly skilled care as we transport them to
the hospital,” Ashby said. “We take great pride in our commitment to assist
patients who might be at a critical juncture in their lives and begin the
For more information, please visit www.wellmont.org.