Flight Criteria

How does Helivac establish what constitutes a HEMS evacuation?

In order to make the process a little simpler to understand, the list below details the medical criteria that necessitate emergency evacuation of patients by helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS):

  • Severe penetrating trauma to the head, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis
  • Blunt trauma to the chest, abdomen or pelvis with a high index of suspicion for major internal bleeding
  • Threatened limbs or proximal long bone amputations
  • Spinal injury with neurological deficit
  • Head injury with a GCS of no less than 6/15
  • Stroke patients requiring rapid access to a stroke centre
  • Compromised cardiac patients with a time to hospital exceeding 30 minutes
  • Acute anaphylaxis with airway compromise or no availability of ALS
  • Hypothermia – core temperature less than 35˚C
  • Hyperthermia – core temperature greater than 40˚C
  • Burns: Facial burns with inhalation injury
  • Children with greater than 20% BSA injury
  • Adults with greater than 30% BSA injury
  • Haemodynamically unstable patient despite intervention or with no availability of ALS
  • Respiratory difficulties despite intervention or with no availability of ALS
  • Where specialist medical expertise of the flight crew is required
  • Near drowning
  • Electrocution
  • Long bone fractures, including neck of femur with prolonged time to hospital
  • Hip dislocations due to severe trauma
  • Prolonged entrapment (or predicted >45 minutes)
  • Severe mechanism of injury with time to appropriate facility exceeding 30 minutes.
When do Logistical guidelines form a part of that decision?
  • Where access to the accident scene by road is limited or time delay to definitive care is deemed to be detrimental in light of the presenting medical condition/injury
  • Major incidents where resources are limited and additional resources are urgently required.
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