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Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare launches helicopter service

Can reach points in Leon County in 10 minutes
Posted at 11:28 AM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 11:28:21-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Ten minutes is all it will take for people Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's newest helicopter to reach those in need of life-saving care in Tallahassee and Leon County.

It's not the first time TMH has offered air ambulance services, but it has been a while.

"TMH has not had a helicopter here in about 12 years based at the hospital," explained returning flight nurse Trent Robinson.

Robinson says he's excited about the heightened speed and level of care TMH can once again offer.

"In this business, time is everything. Whether it's a heart attack, a stroke, a trauma, the quicker you can get a patient to definitive care, whether it's into the ER or the cath lab or the stroke team gets to them or the OR," Robinson says, "time is everything in saving lives."

With the ability to take to the skies at speeds of 150 miles per hour, he adds, "We can be anywhere in this county in about ten minutes, and then we serve all the outlying counties in this whole area."

TMH currently serves about 17 counties in the north Florida panhandle south Georgia. Executive director of emergency services Kyrie Thomas says she expects it will make the greatest difference for people in rural communities.

"Some of the patient population that we wouldn't normally be able to serve because of the time that it would take to get here for example for stroke patients where we have a four hour window or a 24 hour window to get them in, it's now going to be able to serve some of those patients that wouldn't have been able to get here that quickly ... so this is a big step up for us," Thomas said.

The Bell 407 helicopter will be based at TMH along with a 15-member Survival Flight crew in order to offer services around the clock.