News 12 Exclusive / Wednesday, July 27, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The trauma team at GHSMC works on a patient focused on making quick decision to save his life. But if you back up a little in time, life-saving efforts started before the patient hit the E.R.
Before these doctors hit the ground running, another trauma team is in the air.
Mandi Purcell is the Chief Flight Nurse for AirMed and has worked with the local transport company for nine years.
"We have some of the best state-of-the-art equipment as far as ventilators and monitors for inter cranial pressures, heart lines," she said. "We can pretty much monitor anything and take care of any patient no matter how critical they are."
That critical care begins the moment first responders arrive at an accident and decide whether or not to call for a chopper.
AirMed Director of Operations Greg Jones says even for trauma cases, AirMed can go the distance.
"We'll take the helicopter out close to 200 miles depending on the nature of the transport," Jones said. "Whether it's the burn center, a trauma or a vehicle accident."
Trauma teams work under the pressure of the "golden hour," the intense 60 minutes starting the moment after an accident happens.
"Basically the first hour is the most critical," Purcell said. "And they need to be at a level-one trauma center where a surgeon can take care of them, especially trauma patients."
Purcell says unlike many thankless jobs, she knows she's making a difference every single day.
"It is amazing the gratitude that families have for what you do. And how much trust they put in you to take their family member, or take a child from a facility," Purcell said. "It's the best job I've ever had in my life. I love it."