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.

5 comments

  • jim

    Pretty standard indeed, seriously…this is nothing new, I don’t know what the big deal is that makes this company think they have something new a state of the art, besides a new ambulance. Seriously another helicopter!! Really look around….this is stupid…how many helicopters can you cram into north east PA. At one point no matter where you are at there is a helicopter with in 15 to to 20 MAX as of now, complete waste of resources! What also does not make sense is a while back (for those that remember) CHS already had a helicopter program with Sky Care in Brandywine and they dropped that program, sounds like they are throwing good money after bad or just sounds like they are out to cause problems. Give it 3-5 years, this one horse program will eventually run out of money!

  • Jomama

    This is actually pretty standard… Every cardiac monitor, O2 tubing, IV tubing… require “wires” and if you look inside an ICU, there are even more “wires” so not sure why you see this as an issue. Unfortunately to date there is no wifi IV tubing. “Normally” an ambulance has 2 emts (BLS) or 1 EMT and 1 paramedic (ALS). A CCT ambulance always has a CCEMTP and CCRN, plus a perfusionist, MD or additional RN or medic depending on the equipment required and how critical the patient is. How does someone get their “throat pulled out”? You mean the ETT?

  • ryry

    Thats great for who ever may need its service. But… did anyone else notice all the wires running every which way? There is normally two EMTs on one ambulance, and this one would require a paramedic or RN. Making getting around all the wires while driving a daunting task for the crew. Getting a throat getting pulled out would be quite painful. :P

    • Jomama

      This is actually pretty standard… Every cardiac monitor, O2 tubing, IV tubing… require “wires” and if you look inside an ICU, there are even more “wires” so not sure why you see this as an issue. Unfortunately to date there is no wifi IV tubing. “Normally” an ambulance has 2 emts (BLS) or 1 EMT and 1 paramedic (ALS). A CCT ambulance always has a CCEMTP and CCRN, plus a perfusionist, MD or additional RN or medic depending on the equipment required and how critical the patient is. How does someone get their “throat pulled out”? You mean the ETT?

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