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LVHN expands its MedEvac fleet with ground ambulances

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 26 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 27 2013 05:02:18 PM CDT

When you hear the term "MedEvac" you usually think of helicopters.

SALISBURY TWP., Pa. -

When you see the MedEvac helicopter in the sky, you know someone is being rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment.

But area residents and visitors will soon get the same care on the streets, with the Lehigh Valley Health Network's MedEvac fleet expanding to include two specialty care transport ambulances.

"Essentially, the mobile intensive care that we provide, the ICU level of care in the helicopters in the air, is now going to come to the ground," said Michael Wargo, administrator, LVHN MedEvac.

"We have a nurse and a critical care paramedic that are able to care for the patient," said Rick Becker, a flight medic.

LVHN's MedEvac helicopters transport about 1,200 people each year, said Becker, noting that the ground expansion will help transport more people and save more lives.

"When the weather conditions don't permit us to fly, fog, thunderstorms, we are able to use the ground ambulance to provide that same service," said Becker.

The MedEvac ambulances will be staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

LVHN officials said the ambulances weren't designed to compete with local ambulance services, but they can coordinate with them in case of am emergency.

LVHN said this is the first critical care ground transportation program in the region with two ambulances and four helicopters providing service.

MedEvac crews have been going through drills for the last two months to get ready for the expansion.

The ambulances will go in service Sunday at 7 a.m.