Friday, June 11, 2010

Silver Anniversary

Consortium of hospitals celebrates 25 years of Boston MedFlight

BOSTON MEDFLIGHT GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND: Conn gives remarks at the BMF silver anniversary gala.

WHAT BEGAN more than 25 years ago as a single helicopter that brought trauma patients to tertiary care facilities has developed -- with the collaboration of a consortium of six Boston-area hospitals, including the MGH -- into a fully integrated, regionalized system of critical care air and ground transport linking the sickest patients to the vital resources they need. On June 5, Boston MedFlight (BMF) hosted "Above and Beyond," a gala marking the organization's silver anniversary. More than 600 guests attended the event, which took place at Hanscom Air Force Base, where BMF is headquartered.

As one of the founding organizations of BMF, the MGH was among the hospitals celebrating the milestone occasion. Special guests from the MGH included Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president; Alasdair Conn, MD, chief of Emergency Services and BMF board chairman; Ann Prestipino, senior vice president of Surgical and Anesthesia Services and Clinical Business Development; and Earle Wayne Wilkins Jr., MD, and Jack Burke, MD, both of the MGH Department of Surgery and prior BMF board chairmen.

Following entertainment by ceremonial bagpipes and color guard, Conn introduced Suzanne K. Wedel, MD, chief executive officer and medical director of BMF. She provided an overview of BMF and described a typical day for the organization. Wedel then introduced several members of the BMF crew, expressing her gratitude for their behind-the-scenes work that has helped make the operation a success.

To illustrate the impact that BMF and its cooperating hospitals has had on patients and their families, one guest shared his story about his son who had sustained a head injury while on Nantucket. He said he had not been sure if he would ever see his son alive again when he watched him being flown to Boston for trauma care. At the end of his story, the son stood up to a round of applause, and the father credited BMF and the MGH, where his son received care, for saving the boy's life.

"The gala was a wonderful occasion to celebrate Boston MedFlight for its excellence in critical care transport," says Conn. "Since its establishment, the organization has transported approximately 43,000 patients and serves as a national model for critical care transport expertise and collaboration among competing hospitals. Rather than there being a different transport system for each hospital, there is one cooperative system."

"At conception, none of us imagined that our single-helicopter service would turn into a fleet comprising three helicopters, one jet aircraft, three critical care ground vehicles and a staff of nearly 100 that brings the technology and skill of the emergency department directly to the patient," adds Prestipino. "The MGH is extremely proud to have had many of its senior leaders represented on the Boston MedFlight board of directors since its establishment. On behalf of the MGH, we congratulate Boston MedFlight for their amazing 25 years."

The event, which also included an auction, raised more than $500,000 for BMF. For more information about Boston MedFlight, access

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