Episode 11: Flight medicine with Tyler Christifulli and Sam Ireland

A grueling interfacility transfer gives Tyler Christifulli, FP-C, EMT-P (@christifulli88) and Sam Ireland FP-C, EMT-P (@ireland_sam1) the opportunity to show us how they handle airway management, GI bleeding, mechanical ventilation, cardiac arrest, and more, all from the confines of a helicopter.

Check out the great educational content from Tyler and Sam over at FOAMfrat, including blogs, podcasts, and online EMS continuing education.

Takeaway lessons

  1. Prepare the best you can before departing the sending facility, while acknowledging that that time may be a factor, and that some things can’t be predicted.
  2. The close attention by 1:1 (or more) clinicians possible during critical care transport allows some issues, such as borderline airways, to be managed by close observation rather than early intervention.
  3. Due to the limited medications and lab studies available, particular care should be used when managing DKA. Insulin therapy should target gentle glucose correction to avoid precipitous changes in pH, osmolarity, potassium, etc.
  4. Transport medicine, whether from the back of an ambulance, helicopter, jet, or rickshaw, is an austere environment. Personnel, equipment, and time are all limited. A thoughtful approach to logistics, prioritization, workflow, timing, and detail is at least as important as a high-level understanding of pathology.

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