PHI Air Medical and St. Joseph Hospital Bring Helicopter to Bryan

By: Alex Villarreal Email
By: Alex Villarreal Email

St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan is changing the way its medical helicopters respond to accidents.
The changes could help save more lives.

Most people don't think they'll ever need an emergency helicopter.
And before David Wilganowski collapsed on the football field in September with a heart condition, he never thought he would need one either.

Wilganowski said, "I was shocked twice on the field by an AED. I was immediately taken to St. Joseph's...I was treated at St. Joseph's and I was immediately moved from there to the helicopter."

He's alive today because of that immediate care and soon a wider variety of resources will be available in BCS because PHI Air Medical's helicopter will now be flying out of St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan.

"An extra 20 minutes can mean life or death, so it's a big deal and I actually feel very grateful that they have it," Wilganowski said.

This helicopter transports between one and three patients a day and because of the new changes being implemented, the care they receive in here, is also going to improve.

Crew members can't carry life saving fluids like blood onboard right now, because the chopper's housed at Coulter Airfield.

Billy Rice, with PHI Air Medical, said, "Blood is always going to be normal IV fluids, so getting that to a patient that is actively bleeding is hugely important."

Patients like David Wilganowski say they're grateful to have the "St. Joseph AirMedical" chopper flying nearby.

"It's a big deal," said Wilganowski. "I think people don't really realize that until something does happen like that, until something happens to their grandfather, their mother, or their son."

Rice added, "Nobody expects to need a helicopter. Nobody thinks that they're ever going to need our services, but they do and when they do we want to be proficient. We want to be there and we want to make it right."

The state's designated St. Joseph as the Lead Level Trauma 3 hospital in our seven-county region.

The helicopter officially moves to St. Joseph in the next several months and it could help the hospital acquire a Level 2 designation---which would mean more trauma surgeons and a wider variety of care.

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