Air ambulance service flies first patient to UHG
HSE staff, Justice and Health ministers and dignitaries pictured at the launch of the new air ambulance service.
By Mary O’connor
A woman injured in a farm accident in Co Roscommon was the first person to be treated by the emergency air ambulance service which began operations on Monday.
The 26-year-old was initially treated by a paramedic on board the helicopter before being flown to University Hospital Galway. Her condition was described as “stable” by hospital authorities.
The Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS) is a joint project between the HSE National Ambulance service (NAS) and the Irish Air Corps.
A spokesperson for the HSE West said the helicopter responded to the call from Custume Barracks in Athlone to Castleplunkett, Co Roscommon.
“The patient was assessed and treated by an NAS ground ambulance crew who then requested the aircraft. The aircraft was on the scene 13 minutes from being requested and the patient was treated by the EAS advanced paramedic on board the helicopter while being flown to Galway University Hospital (flight time 11 minutes), where her condition [earlier this week] was described as stable.”
Dr Cathal O’Donnell, the medical director of the National Ambulance Service, said it is pleased that this service is now operational.
“[This was] after much hard work by the Irish Air Corps and the National Ambulance Service, and that a patient benefited from rapid transport to a hospital appropriate to her injuries.”
The service is a 12-month pilot project agreed by the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly and the Minister for Defence Alan Shatter to evaluate if Ireland requires a dedicated air ambulance service.