By Angel MedFlight Contributor
Comfort, care and professionalism. Just three of the words that come to mind when talking to one of our flight crew members at Angel MedFlight. This writer sat down recently with licensed flight paramedic Troy Miller to learn more about our unparalleled patient care, both on the ground and in the air.
Miller, who serves as Angel MedFlight’s Clinical Logistics Manager, has worked in Emergency Medical Services for 23 years, the last 20 months with Angel MedFlight.
On a standard Angel MedFlight medical transport there is a critical care flight nurse on board along with a critical care flight paramedic. While the nurse is the designated primary care provider on the flight, Miller says, “When we’re in the air, we are pretty much equal.” Nurses will take the ultimate responsibility for the patient, but Miller says in flight, there is complete collaboration between the two. “It’s usually a joint decision between the nurse and the medic. If they want to do a procedure or treatment we always discuss it between each other,” Miller says.
Miller adds that it takes two minds to think creatively about a decision. “You can integrate your thoughts and be able to come up with a final decision that’s for the better outcome of the patient.”
Miller refers to an Angel MedFlight patient transport as a continuous care project. “You watch the patient, you socialize with them and you make sure they feel well. And if they’re not able to socialize, you monitor and observe the patient to see if they are in need of anything.”
Indicative of our Bedside-to-Bedside service, the care for a patient begins on the ground. “Say we go to a facility to pick up a patient and that person is there with their spouse, children and grandchildren at the bedside and we are taking them away from that element,” Miller says. “There are often tears from people not wanting to let go of people.”
There are times when the patient won’t see their family for a long time, “so we have to be very consoling to them, ” says Miller. And that can mean holding a patient’s hand for the duration of a flight. “You may end up holding someone’s hand for hours and just sitting there talking. You have to find things to talk about, learn about the people, learn about the family,” says Miller.
Comforting not only the patient, but their loved ones. Often times, a family member riding along with the patient will want to take photos and have the nurse and medic pose with them. “You give them all kinds of cool information about the plane and talk about the entire flight operation and the next thing you know — three hours is gone.”
And when the flight is over? Miller says, “Nine times out of 10, everybody’s getting a hug, they’re saying great things about how great our service was and it ends up being a great experience for them.”
At Angel MedFlight, our medical personnel undergo a rigorous initial orientation and uphold stringent continuing education requirements on an annual basis. While they can tell you about their numerous certifications, it’s also the little things that set us apart. Some comforting conversation to set the patient at ease, or a hand held…for hours at a time.