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Air aid

Staff for Life Helicopter Service celebrates 25 years

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  • Story by Lisa Bruce
  • Published: Dec. 13, 2007
Staff for Life helicopter

The Staff for Life Helicopter Service flies more than a thousand missions each year. Photo by David Owens.

During 16 years in law enforcement, Tim Carr often saw the Staff for Life Helicopter Service, which reached its 25th anniversary in November, in action. Just before midnight on May 19, 2006, Carr ended up in the middle of that action.

Carr and his wife were on their way home from his niece’s eighth grade graduation in Cole Camp, Mo. Another driver failed to stop at a stop sign and hit Carr’s automobile at between 70 and 75 mph. Carr’s lungs collapsed.

At best, the drive to University Hospital would have been 50–­55 minutes. The Staff for Life was called in. In the air, a paramedic and nurse each re-inflated one of Carr’s lungs using chest “darts.”  It took minutes to get Carr to the hospital.

“It was a rather intense thing,” Carr says. He has no memory of the event, but he says he’s certain that if he hadn’t gotten such rapid medical attention, he wouldn’t have survived.

The Staff for Life air ambulance at University Hospital began flying in November 1982. On Nov. 28, the service celebrated 25 years in service and the completion of more than 26,000 patient missions.

“The helicopter is everything from a highly skilled ambulance crew to a state-of-the art intensive care unit,” said John Yanos, physician and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at MU, in a press release.

The Staff for Life has three bases with crews on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each year, the team makes more than a thousand emergency and patient transport flights.

Read more in:  Health & MedicineBeyond Campus

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Last updated: Feb. 22, 2012