LifeFlight now servicing Crenshaw County

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Baptist Hospital's LifeFlight program has expanded its services to Crenshaw Community Hospital as well as to the entire area.

This expansion took effect May 1, and it provides air ambulance coverage that can cut the flight time of a trauma patient being taken to a hospital anywhere in the state in half.

&#8220Baptist LifeFlight is based out of Pensacola,” Jim McKnight, Crenshaw Community Hospital Administrator, said. &#8220Now that they have a third helicopter located in Evergreen, they can be here in approximately 20 minutes. Before, the nearest helicopter we had came from Auburn, and that usually took about 40 minutes to get here.”

McKnight added that just because the helicopter is sponsored by Baptist Hospital out of Pensacola does not mean that they will automatically take a patient to Florida.

&#8220Patients will be flown to the most appropriate hospital according to the situation, and that will mostly be in Alabama,” he said.

Kevin Stanhope, the Program Director for Baptist LifeFlight, said that he and his team were &#8220glad to be a part of the community.”

&#8220We have three helicopter bases,” Stanhope said.

&#8220One is in Pensacola, the other is in Mobile, and now we have the new base at Middleton Field Airport in Evergreen.”

Stanhope added that the helicopter service could fly a patient to Montgomery in approximately 20 minutes, while a flight to Mobile or Birmingham would take about 55 minutes.

&#8220Time is critical,” he said. &#8220Sixty percent of our patients are transported from the scene while forty percent are taken from one hospital to another hospital for emergency care.”

Stanhope added that trauma patients were the most common patients transported.

&#8220We transport people who have been in car wrecks, who have suffered a gunshot wound, wrecked on a motorcycle or a four-wheeler, or who have fallen off of a horse,” he said.

&#8220The next biggest group we transport would be cardiac patients, either from the scene or from a hospital.”

McKnight agreed with Stanhope that one of the best things about LifeFlight is the fact that they can land right on the scene, even in the middle of a road.

Stanhope said that last year, LifeFlight transported over 1,800 patients to hospitals in Alabama and Northwest Florida.

&#8220We are very proud to have this new service not only for Crenshaw Community Hospital, but for all of the people of Crenshaw County,” McKnight said.