Children’s of Alabama has enhanced its ability to help sick children get the care they need. The hospital’s Critical Care Transport team recently added a state-of-the-art helicopter, thanks to donations from Birmingham’s Monday Morning Quarterback Club.
The Airbus H145 replaces the previous helicopter in use since 2012. Jason Peterson, director of Critical Care Transport, said the new helicopter will help the team serve patients more effectively.
“It’s going to mean the most to our patients and our patients’ families. It’s really cool that we’re going to have a new piece of equipment and state-of-the-art technologies for our medical crews to operate in. But at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to the ability for our crews to provide excellent care for our patients and their families.”
The Children’s Critical Care Transport team since 1983 has been transporting critically ill and injured children between medical facilities across the state. Whenever a child needs a level of care beyond what’s offered in their area, the team transports them to a facility that offers that level of care. The team vehicles – ambulances, helicopter and medical jet – are essentially mobile emergency rooms, equipped to care for each patient. The technology in the new helicopter is even more sophisticated than what was in the previous helicopter.
“In the state of Alabama, it’s one of a kind,” Peterson said. “Currently, it is the only aircraft of this model in the state. It is one of the most advanced technological aircrafts in the state.”
Among features in the new helicopter are enhanced terrain avoidance systems and weather radar. These make it possible for the crews to travel using Instrument Flight Rules – something they previously could not do, with pilots being restricted to Visual Flight Rules by the Federal Aviation Administration. Now, the team can transport patients even when the weather is not totally clear.
The helicopter has twin engines, a rolling stretcher and rear-loading capacity. It offers enough space for four crew members in the back by the patient, with a pilot and another passenger in front.
The helicopter is named QB1 after the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in recognition of the club’s fundraising efforts that made it possible for Children’s of Alabama to get the helicopter.
“It’s very impactful,” Monday Morning Quarterback Club board member Jeff Stone said. “Our club is all about supporting the medical needs of children in our community any way we can, and I can’t think of a better way of doing it than through this helicopter.”
The operation of the helicopter is possible through a partnership between Children’s and Med-Trans Corp., part of the Global Medical Response family of companies. Med-Trans provides all pilots, mechanics and operation logistics for Children’s to use the new helicopter.