New MedEvac helicopter now serving NEPA

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HAZLE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A new medical helicopter will be flying in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Lehigh Valley Health Network introduced the aircraft Tuesday at Hazleton Regional Airport.

“With the smaller helicopter we were limited with the personnel we could put on the helicopter. This greatly expands that,” John Fletcher, president of Lehigh Valley Hospital in Hazelton, told Eyewitness News.

Patients that used to have to be transported on the ground, will now be flown in the old EC-145 helicopter.

“Healthcare is changing everyday and certainly COVID-19 has changed the way we approach healthcare,” Fletcher said.

The Lehigh Valley Health networks new MedEvac helicopter significantly connects the care between hospitals in a fraction of time.

“We know when you’re having a heart attack or having a stroke, minutes matter,” Keith Miccuci, emergency medical transport authority, said.

The helicopter has a cabin double the size of the EC-135 helicopter, which gives more space for its smallest patients, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patients. Patients requiring Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) will also benefit.

“In the helicopter is a mini ICU. It has all the equipment, the ventilators, monitors, invasive lines, everything that we would need to care for a patient within flight,” Miccuci said.

This much larger helicopter serves the people of Luzerne, Schuykill, Monroe, and Carbon Counties.

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