The clinical benefit of aeromedical transportation of injured patients in the civilian population has been debated. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of discontinuing a hospital-based helicopter transport program on trauma
patient outcomes, with the hypothesis that the loss of an air ambulance
would result in increased transport time
and increased mortality
among severely injured patients.
Data on injury severity and patient outcomes were collected prospectively for the 12 months immediately preceding and 24 months following discontinuation of the helicopter ambulance service. Transport time
rate, and hospital length of stay was compared.
The number of trauma
patient admissions decreased 12%, with a 17% decrease in admissions of severely injured patients. Transport time
decreased, with no change in mortality
Discontinuation of a hospital-based air ambulance
service did not increase transport time
or increase mortality