Healthy Living Today: Guardian Angel - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Healthy Living Today: Guardian Angel

Mercy Medical Center has added a brand new emergency response vehicle to its fleet, and it's the hospital's fastest vehicle ever.

"It doesn't seem fast until you your shadow on the ground really," said Trent Massie.

You won't find it parked with the other ambulances. Instead, you'll find it behind the building, sitting on top of a heli-pad.

Massie has been flying emergency helicopters for 14 years and he's stationed in Williston with his Guardian Angel flight crew.

Among the crew is helicopter medic David Cavins, who says the response time is outstanding. "You don't have to worry about traffic, of course, it's direct line of sight which makes it shorter and it's much faster than EMS or any other type of vehicle."

The helicopter can travel at over 140 miles per hour, allowing first responders to reach remote areas faster than ever before. "What's good for a remote area is that we can access the patient much quicker. Once we access them, we can render care much quicker," said Cavins.

Down on the ground, Chief of Surgery Wayne Anderson says in emergency situations, time is of the utmost importance. "In the world of trauma, we talk about ‘The Golden Hour,' the first hour after an accident occurs. And from a physician standpoint, we want to gain access to that patient as soon as we can."

While it may look like a wild ride, the helicopter is actually the hospital's smoothest form of transportation.

"It's actually a lot smoother than an ambulance, the ambulances today are a little rough. So it's very smooth and smoother than an airplane. If you've ridden in a little Cessna and know how it bounces, it doesn't have that effect. Even on a really windy day, it's a smooth ride," said Massie.

Patients can receive the same treatment as in an ambulance while en route back to the hospital.

"As a nurse paramedic, everything that we can do in the ER and ICU we can do here in the helicopter. We have all of those capabilities," said Cavins.

With the growth in the Bakken, Massie says this service will end up being very critical to patients in need. "It's huge, it will save a lot of lives a year, there's no doubt about it."

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