Emergency doctors want changes in EMS helicopter safety

The American College of Emergency Physicians has released a set of recommendations calling for changes in the way medevac helicopter services operate. This in response to a record 28 fatalities that occurred in seven medevac crashes in the U.S. last year.

Among the key changes the College would like to see is physicians with more control over medical decisions that call for EMS helicopter use.

Other suggestions include having states develop EMS protocols that require flight operators to be accredited; using helicopter terrain awareness warning systems and night-vision technology; establishing state protocols for patient destinations, regardless of state lines or the helicopter's institution; and requiring all medical flight dispatchers to meet FAA standards.

The National Transportation Safety Board, meanwhile, had previously recommended terrain awareness warning systems and increased weather-minimum and pilot-rest duty requirements on all medically-staff flights, but these have not yet become federal regulations as the agency had hoped.

To learn more about the proposed changes for medevac flights:
- read this American Medical News piece