DICKINSON (KFYR-TV) Serious injuries require immediate care.
In good weather or bad, Dickinson might not have adequate resources.
That calls for rapid transport to a larger hospital.
"There are many times, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a snowstorm, when I'm very frightened for a patient, because we know we can only do so much for them and to have additional capacity, additional specialty, additional range, for the patient to go somewhere where they need to go, it's extremely reassuring," says Dr. Mark Ricks of Sanford Health in Dickinson.
Sanford AirMed expanded service into the Dickinson area with a fixed-wing plane that can hold two patients and five crew members.
"We could really do anything that can be done in an ER or an ICU and we operate under the direction of physicians, so if the patient needs some sort of treatment, we bring that to the patient," says lead flight paramedic Adam Parker.
And doctors say the need for such a service will only grow.
"The hospitals here have been very, very busy and overwhelmed and staffing has been inadequate at times for the number of patients that we have," says Dr. Ricks. "We feel like we are breaking the record of babies being born here every month and with that increased population and growth and birth, there are more patients that need help and need support and need services as this continues to change and continues to grow, it's only going to become more necessary for us to have this ability to transport people."
With staff always on call, flight paramedics and nurses can be ready for take off in as little as 20 minutes.
Sanford AirMed says it has helped more than 3,200 patients annually across the Midwest.