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Chatham Base for Medical Transport Helicopter Provides Faster Trauma Response

April 18, 2011 — UNC Carolina Air Care has permanently stationed a Critical Care Medical Transport helicopter at Chatham Hospital in Siler City, which will provide faster transport of patients from a crisis scene out in the community to the closest Trauma Center.

The helicopter, Tar Heel One, is one of two operated by UNC Carolina Air Care to provide Critical Care Medical Transport for the citizens of North Carolina. Tar Heel One was moved from its former base at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

“This move is very exciting because it brings air medical services closer to Siler City and the surrounding region,” said Carol Straight, President of Chatham Hospital. “The fact that this service is based here in Siler City improves our access to excellent medical care.”

“This move of the aircraft 30 miles (or 15 minutes of flight time) from the Trauma Center at Chapel Hill improves the purposeful use of the helicopter for scene response out in the community,” said Maggie O’Donnell BSN CEN EMT-P, Program Manager with UNC Carolina Air Care. Patients transported from any scene less than 30 miles away from UNC Hospitals will arrive faster by ground transport services, she said.

Tar Heel One began operation from the helipad at Chatham Hospital on March 7.

UNC Carolina Air Care’s helicopters are operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The base of air operation for the second helicopter, Tar Heel Two, is located at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville. Tar Heel Two is the primary aircraft to respond to scene calls on Ft. Bragg Range.

UNC Carolina Air Care transports more than 2,000 patients a year, via air and ground. The program has been bringing Air Medical Transport service to the residents of North Carolina for 25 years, as of July 2011.

The aircraft are operated by Air Methods Corp. of Englewood Co. The medical crews are employees of UNC.

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