What happens when you can’t fly the helicopters?
Boston MedFlight Communication Specialists will contact the closest appropriate program and will conference call you and the communication center of the respective program. Working collaboratively with other programs, we will assist you in obtaining the service you need.
How do you decide if a patient is transported by helicopter, ambulance or airplane?
First and foremost, all decisions are made with the patient's best interest and safety in mind. The Boston MedFlight Communication Specialists have access to many different resources to discuss the transport process and determine the best mode of transport. Among those resources are the sending facility staff, receiving facility staff, Boston MedFlight medical crew and Boston MedFlight medical control; all of whom are available 24 hours a day. Many different factors are taken into consideration when triaging between vehicles including patient acuity, pending emergency procedures, distance between the sending and receiving facilities, current and forecasted weather conditions, logistics at the sending and receiving sites and overall system status.
The Boston MedFlight Communication Specialists work with all of the parties involved from start to finish, explaining decisions and discussing the logistics to ensure the patient gets the most appropriate vehicle for transport, whether Boston MedFlight completes the transport or not.
What kind of specialty medical equipment does Boston MedFlight carry?
Specialized, critical care equipment is available in all Boston MedFlight vehicles. All transport vehicles are equipped with transport ventilators capable of several modes of ventilation; invasive line monitoring equipment; internal and external pacing; external defibrillation; infusion pumps; Doppler; pulse oximetry; non-invasive blood pressure monitoring; extensive pharmacy and end tidal capnography. The transport vehicles can be reconfigured to accommodate an intra-aortic balloon pump or a neonatal isolette.
How does the pilot decide on a landing location when flying directly to the scene of an accident?
Communication between the entire team and ground personnel is of critical importance when Boston MedFlight responds to the scene of an accident. As part of our ability to provide service to EMS, each town Fire Department, together with our contracted pilots and Communication Specialists, coordinate a set of landing zones which meets all of the criteria for a safe landing. When responding to a scene, Boston MedFlight Communication Specialists communicate with local Fire and Police Department personnel to determine which pre-designated landing zone is most appropriate. Boston MedFlight is also capable of landing on highways, roadways, and parking lots, provided direct communication between Boston MedFlight and ground personnel exists, assuring landing zone safety.
Does Boston MedFlight have a system of equipment retrieval for patients flown from the scene of an accident or patients flown another hospital's Emergency Department?
Yes. Boston MedFlight has a dedicated equipment retrieval employee who makes every effort to retrieve, clean, and deliver equipment to the Fire and Police Departments, hospitals, and EMS agencies. It is very important that every piece of equipment be labeled clearly with the agency's entire name to facilitate tracking at different hospital locations.
Who owns Boston MedFlight?
Boston MedFlight is a 501c(3) non-profit charity. Although we are supported by our consortium hospitals, our main goal is to benefit the public at large and we are a separate non-profit organization.
What kind of education does the medical crew receive at Boston MedFlight?
Each crew member must complete yearly rotations at the consortium hospitals in areas such as high-risk obstetrics, pediatric and adult respiratory therapy, pediatric and adult operating room, SICU (surgical intensive care unit), radiology, intra-aortic balloon pump management, NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), ATLS, and EMS. Additional rotations can be added if a crew member has particular interests. In addition, there are regular case reviews and topic presentations at staff meetings.
Who pays for all of the high priced, specialty medical equipment?
Boston MedFlight does. Patient safety is of upmost importance to us and why we invest in safety, technology, and training that protect both our patients and our crew. While we are fortunate to receive funding from the consortium for these investments, we rely on donations to defray the cost of these items. Please visit our donation page
for ways to donate.
Do you have a ride along program?
Yes. Our ride along program is an excellent way for community providers to experience critical care transport from an entirely different perspective. Participants are able to spend the day, as an observer only, with the MedFlight crew on rotor wing and ground transports. The ride along offers a unique opportunity for first responders and ED/ICU nurses to experience the linking of patients with the critical care resources they need. Candidates must meet eligibility requirements
How is Boston MedFlight funded? How much state funding?
Boston MedFlight is a 501c (3) nonprofit organization that receives funds from our patients and their families, foundations, corporations and other individuals. We do not receive any federal or state funding. Each year we try to raise funds for general operating support. Please visit the donate section
of this site to learn about the many ways your gift can assist Boston MedFlight in achieving our mission and about the kinds of equipment we have to purchase on a regular basis to keep our patients safe and well cared for. All donations are tax deductible.
Boston MedFlight was founded in 1985 by a consortium of Boston hospitals. As opposed to each hospital operating their own helicopter, Boston MedFlight was created as a shared resource among the consortium hospitals. By working together, the consortium hospitals have created a regional critical care transport system that has benefited patients for almost three decades. The consortium model, which is rare in the country, allows for a pooling of resources to invest in safety, technology, and training to care for the most critically ill and injured patients. In early 2017, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center joined the Boston MedFlight Consortium - the first new addition since inception.
How many transports does Boston MedFlight do each year? How many times a year do you fly to the islands?
In 2019, we completed more than 4,700 patient transports in Boston MedFlight vehicles, of those, more than 550 were from the islands of Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard.
How many bases does Boston MedFlight have?
Boston MedFlight has four bases in Massachusetts: Bedford, Plymouth, Mansfield and Lawrence
Are the medical crew trained as co-pilots and are the pilots medically trained?
No, however cross training is critical and as such, each member has pertinent information and a healthy respect for each other's roles. The medical crew is considered part of the aviation team. They assist the pilot in safety awareness in and about the aircraft, and identify and call out hazards such as other aircraft, wires, debris, and any other obstructions, which may impact flight safety. The pilots are also an integral part of our team.