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Mobile ICU in the Sky or on the Road

SCRANTON — An ambulance service in Lackawanna County has some new additions to its fleet.

Lackawanna Ambulance, owned by Commonwealth Health, will soon start operating a helicopter and a specialized ambulance.

Officials from Commonwealth Health and Lackawanna Ambulance announced the new additions at the ambulance headquarters on Remington Avenue in south Scranton. They said the helicopter and two new vehicles mean patients will be given intensive care treatment, in the sky or on the road.

To the untrained eye, they look like any other ambulance. But it’s a type Commonwealth Health officials said this area has never seen before.

It’s equipment and staff are advanced. It’s called a critical care ground transport. Effectively, an intensive care unit on wheels.

Paramedics with Lackawanna Ambulance just completed new training to work on the two new vehicles Commonwealth Health revealed this week.

They also introduced “Commonwealth One”, the company’s own medical transport helicopter. Starting in September it will transport patients to hospitals in our area and elsewhere.

But what happens when Commonwealth One and other choppers can’t fly? That’s where the vehicles come in.

“Helicopters get grounded in inclement weather, and in that case you have to go to a critical care ground transport team. It happens more than you think, especially in winters like we just had,” said Justin Davis of Commonwealth Health.

Davis said the combination of the helicopter and new ambulance could mean the difference between life and death for some patients. Each one will not only be staffed by paramedic, but a registered nurse, too.

“It’s underrated, there’s a lot of transports that we do now where we take nurses from the hospitals. And now doing this on the road we aren’t going to have to deplete their resources as well,” added Paramedic John Grady.

One of those critical care ambulances that is specifically designed for babies is already out on the streets and ready for patients. The other ambulance and the helicopter will begin transporting patients by the end of the summer.

Officials with Commonwealth Health said the helicopter will land at an airfield in Wyoming County or at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.


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