Seconds count in any medical emergency. Whether a person is hurt in a crash, or a mother is giving birth sooner than expected, a medical team can provide care in a matter of minutes.
News 4 went above the city in St. Louis‘ mobile hospital.
It’s called Kids Flight 2, a four-blade, two-engine. 8,000-pound helicopter. The flight crew works for Barnes Jewish and Children’s hospitals. Considered a commodity, the Air Bus EC145 serves not only St. Louis and Missouri but also helps save lives in other states.
The flight crew, known as Guardians of Childhood, stay ready.
“It’s really quick. The phone rings. It is exciting,” said pilot Jameson Jones.
Jones is in his third year of flying a helicopter for Barnes Jewish and Children’s Hospitals.
“We are not told what we are going to get, but know we are saving someone’s life,” added Jones.
Amber Lew is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine OB Transport Nurse.
“Every day that I work, I usually have at least one trip,” said Lew.
Both allowed News 4 to take a flight to Children’s Hospital where the crew brings about 30 mothers every month who go into labor to a neonatal intensive care unit.
“It can be the difference between life and death for a baby most of the time,” added Lew.
Able to carry 200 gallons of fuel and fly three hours non-stop, the helicopter has the ability to go well outside the St. Louis area.
“Anywhere in Illinois. We’ve gone to Kansas, Indiana, and Arkansas,” added Lew.
Another duty for Guardians of Childhood is to get their mobile hospital to children hurt in crashes, fires, or other emergencies.
“It has IV kits. There are medicines and anything we should need if they should start bleeding,” added Lew.
While the nurse has a list of things to check, a mechanic has a list to make sure everyone and the aircraft stay safe.
“I don’t skip anything. I don’t ever. Just because they fly and people’s lives are at stake,” said mechanic Danny Moses.
The pilot told News 4 the key to keeping everyone and the aircraft safe is to always focus on aviation, navigation, and communication.
The flight crew started using the helicopter in last July. It replaced the one destroyed in a hard landing at a hospital in Perry County in June 2016.