Mercy's Own Medical Flight Service Comes to Independence

November 22, 2013
   Mercy Life Line, a medical flight service offered by the Mercy ministry, has expanded its service area to include Independence.
   Earlier this month, Mercy Life Line established a new base in Joplin, Mo., with a dedicated helicopter and crew that also can respond to calls from Mercy Hospital Independence, with an approximate 25-minute flight time. The crew made a stop in Independence this past week to meet the local hospital co-workers and Independence emergency services personnel.
   “We are so pleased that we can now extend Mercy care and service through the flight transfer experience for our emergency patients requiring advanced treatment at other facilities,” said Patti Doncouse, RN, director of the Mercy Emergency Department.   
   Doncouse explained that several patients are transferred from Mercy Hospital annually via helicopter to tertiary facilities for advanced care in cases such as severe trauma, heart attack, spinal cord injuries, etc. Mercy constructed its own helipad on campus last year, which Doncouse estimates has shaved an average of 18 to 25 minutes off the previous transfer process that involved landings at the Independence Middle School field.
    “Having our own Mercy transport service will allow for an even more streamlined process and improved communication between providers,” Doncouse said. “That all equates to better quality of care for our patients.”
   Doncouse noted that Mercy Life Line will be just one of the flight service providers accessible to the hospital, and Mercy will continue to utilize the services of Wichita-based EagleMed, which maintains a station in Chanute. Mercy Life Line operates a communications center in Springfield, Mo., that will serve as the routing hub for all calls for patient transfers. If a Mercy Life Line helicopter is not available when needed, the communications center will locate and secure the most appropriate service.
   Mercy Life Line helicopters are equipped to transport all types of patients, including trauma victims, newborns and those who are critically ill, and can even accommodate two patients at a time if necessary. The twin-engine aircraft are outfitted with state-of-the art technology allowing for improved safety in inclement weather.
   More information on Mercy Life Line is available by contacting Doncouse at 620-330-8197.