Helicopter Emergency Medical Service Saves a Life on Its Very First Day

Total Croatia News

An immediate life-saving impact from Croatia’s new emergency helicopter service. 

On the first day after the establishment of the helicopter emergency medical service, the first intervention has been successfully completed. The patient was injured in a car accident on the island of Cres, and in less than an hour he was hospitalized at the Clinical Hospital Centre Rijeka. The treatment was started in the helicopter, reports Index.hr on September 10, 2015.

“Medical Communication Unit of the County Department of Emergency Medicine successfully communicated with the medical team in the helicopter, as well as with the terrestrial team, and has successfully coordinated the entire treatment. Given the life-threatening injuries, the most important thing was for the patient to be extremely quickly brought to the hospital. Upon arrival, he was immediately transferred to an operating room”, said Maja Grba Bujević, the director of the Croatian Institute for Emergency Medicine.

From the moment the service received the first call to the delivery of the patient to the Clinical Hospital Centre Rijeka, a total of 55 minutes passed, which is a big improvement over the previous practice, when in similar cases a non-purpose military helicopter without adequate medical teams was used.

Health Minister Siniša Varga once again emphasized the importance of this project within the comprehensive reform of the health care system, which aims to raise the quality of health services accessible to all Croatian citizens.

“For the first time ever, the helicopter emergency medical service puts on an equal footing our citizens who live on the islands and in poorly connected rural areas, but also all Croatian citizens in relation to their neighbours in the European Union. On the very first day of this project, we can see benefits for Croatian citizens and tourists, which is a further evidence of the importance of establishing permanent helicopter EMS in Croatia”, said the minister.

The helicopter EMS is a pilot project of the Ministry of Health, fully financed by the World Bank, which provides to the Croatian patients high-quality and accessible health services at the level of EU standards. There are ten specially trained medical teams and two helicopters which are equipped like small intensive care units, stationed on the islands of Krk and Brač. Helicopters for this special purpose, unlike regular transport helicopters, can land on smaller areas closer to patients, which facilitates access and additionally shortens transport time to a hospital. This is especially important in conditions such as heart attacks and strokes, when the outcome is directly related to the rapid treatment being given within the so-called “golden hour”. The same applies to serious injury, other critical situations and traffic accidents.


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