Foundation Funds Life Saving Equipment on CareFlight

In 2022, Foundation donors helped purchased 10 Hamilton ventilators that are stationed in each of CareFlight’s four helicopters and five Mobile Intensive Care Units (MICUs). These ventilators replaced equipment from 2007 that are no longer in production.

“Ventilators are a standard piece of equipment required for the transport of critical patients,” says Beth Calcidise, director of CareFlight Air & Mobile. “The State of Ohio requires ventilators for licensure and our accreditation body additionally requires they are readily available on all vehicles providing transportation of critically ill or injured patients.”

The new Hamilton ventilators have an integrated oxygen consumption calculation and project the amount of time a patient can be supported on the current settings, a safety aspect necessary for care. The ventilators also allow for additional modes of ventilation and an increased Positive End-Expiratory Pressure support for COVID-19 and other high risk respiratory cases that CareFlight frequently transports.

Less than a week following the delivery of the new Hamilton ventilators, CareFlight received a request from a Southeast Ohio hospital needing to transport a 6-week-old child diagnosed with RSV to Pittsburgh.

“No pediatric beds were available within 200 miles due to hospitals being at capacity, so they had to admit the baby into their adult ICU,” explains Calcidise. “The baby was critically ill and likely would not survive unless they were able to be transferred.”

Multiple nearby air ambulance services were called to transport the infant, but none could accommodate the baby’s needs. The hospital eventually called CareFlight to see if the ventilators on board the helicopter could support the child.

“Our CareFlight team arrived at the child’s bedside and immediately transitioned the infant to our Hamilton vent,” says Andrew Hawk, MD, former medical director of CareFlight. “The physician wanted to recheck the baby’s blood gas after being on our ventilator and she had drastically improved.”

Due to the Foundation’s support and the lifesaving Hamilton ventilator, the highly skilled CareFlight team was able to deliver the specialized care the baby needed. The flight was about 60 minutes to Pittsburgh, and the baby had significantly improved upon CareFlight’s arrival at the hospital.