The PennSTAR Flight Program provides critical care air and ground medical transportation to the Tri-State Area within a 100-mile radius of Penn Medicine. PennSTAR provides rapid transport of critical care patients between medical centers, as well as “on-scene” services at the site of accidents and trauma-related incidents.
They operate six helicopters and one critical care ambulance 24-hours a day, seven days per week, staffed by expert pilots, critical care flight nurses and flight paramedics. All clinicians are cross-trained to operate in both helicopter and critical care ambulance so the superior level of care delivered to their patients is consistent regardless of the transport modality. All transport requests and support communications between the transport teams, medical centers, and emergency crews are coordinated and integrated by a dedicated communications center.
Our scouts had another unique opportunity and got to visit with the flight crew, both skilled men and woman. One was even a Scout Leader! We got to ask questions and learn about how the program runs and what we should know in case we ever encounter the team in action. The most important lesson we learned is how critically important it is to have good communication and patience. There is a lot happening in a very small space and many voices calling out valuable information that can’t be missed. Lives literally depend on excellent communication.
We were given very detailed tours of the inside of an ambulance and even a helicopter. We learned along the way what a care provider does on board and how much they have to think about while caring for a patient. They had many great successful and encouraging stories and of course noted that not all things work out how they hope, but you can never lose hope. It was a beautiful morning at the field.