Crews from Boston MedFlight and the U.S. Coast Guard visited Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Wednesday to provide critical care training for roughly a dozen medical staff from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket hospitals.
Nine nurses from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and six from Nantucket Cottage Hospital, along with a Tisbury medic took part in the training course in order to be able to assist in emergency medical flights.
Both Islands require patients to be accompanied by qualified medical staff in air transports by the U.S. Coast Guard. This is crucial for when Boston MedFlight, which provides their own critical care staff, is unable to fly.
“We wanted to create a safety course for patient transport that addressed critical issues when flying a patient to tertiary care,” MVH staff nurse Mike Spiro said in a recent press release; the training is important “so the transport nurse/medic are safe in the air and on the ground and they’re confident when bringing a patient off island.”
The medical staff was joined by Coast Guard rescue swimmers and multiple flight crews for hands-on training at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport.
“It started as a simple idea a year ago and then Jennifer Wheeler, Flight Medic for Boston MedFlight, got tasked with the project and was really the engine behind a lot of the moving parts to bring this to fruition,” Spiro said in the release.
MedFlight staff say they hope to provide similar training and retraining sessions every six months.
Hospital reps say that while the Coast Guard has provided a number of air transports that couldn’t be conducted by MedFlight this season due to weather, the bigger challenge is wintertime, which makes the training sessions particularly valuable.