Special Assignment: Augusta's Air-Med

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February 18, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Augusta's own Air-Med has been called a lifesaver in the sky.

It's a helicopter service for patients needing emergency care who are miles away from a hospital.

News 12 talked to a man who learned firsthand how valuable it really is.

Columbia County Deputy Thad Brown is cooped up in rehab after a car wreck last month that nearly killed him.

After a three day coma and surgery to the back of his head, he's recovering.

"I owe them my life, really," he said of Augusta's Air-Med crew.

We went up in the CSRA's secret weapon: a $2.8 million chopper. Pilot Todd Hatfield pointed out the Appling site where Deputy Brown was found unconscious.

They transported him to MCG in under seven precious minutes.

"It's one of the fastest single-engine helicopters in existence today," Hatfield said.

"State of the art aircraft that's unmatched in the state of Georgia for the speed, the power of the aircraft itself and the capabilities of it," said Dan Gates, president and program director of Air-Med.

For Brown, it truly was his angel with wings.

His car flipped over several times and he suffered severe head trauma. If dispatch hadn't put Air-Med on standby, it's possible he may not have made it.

"It's something that's hard to describe, the feeling that you do get from helping people like that," said Hatfield.

"It'll take a little time to get back right, but I am going to be ok," Deputy Brown said.

Air-Med has been servicing Georgia and South Carolina since May of 2000...and check out how fast it is:

The transport time from McDuffie County or Burke County to Augusta is ten minutes. It takes roughly 20 minutes from Emanuel, Wilkes, and Washington counties.

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