Life Flight Helps Save Lives In Northeast Ohio

Metro Life Flight is an internationally recognized critical care transport service based in northeast Ohio. Accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems since 1994, its three modes of transport -- helicopter, jet and ground mobile ICU -- serve destinations throughout the United States and beyond.

What sets Metro Life Flight apart from most other air transport programs is the composition of its flight team. At minimum, each mission is comprised of a critical care physician, a critical care nurse and two pilots, which enables life-saving care to be given in the air, en route to the hospital. Only 5 percent of programs fly a physician and a registered nurse. Similarly, just 5 percent of programs ensure that two pilots are on every mission.

Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Metro Life Flight transports critically ill patients from referring locations to MetroHealth Medical Center and more than 65 other receiving hospitals around the state of Ohio. In addition to providing interhospital patient transfers, Metro Life Flight also transports victims from accident scenes.

Metro Life Flight has won two recent international honors. In 1998, Metro Life Flight received the international "Program of the Year" award, followed by one of its flight nurses being named the international "Crew Member of the Year" in 1999. Both of the honors were bestowed by the Association of Air Medical Services -- the leader in medical transport excellence.

Metro Life Flight was the first hospital-based program to fly a medically configured Sikorsky S-76 aircraft, which is one of the largest and most powerful aeromedical helicopters in the United States. The cabin of the S-76 is similar to an intensive care unit, equipped with a full line of advanced medical equipment, including on-board ultrasound. With its ability to cruise at speeds up to 180 miles per hour, it can quickly reach distances of up to 250 miles away from its three regional bases in Cleveland, Solon and Canton.

Here are some facts about Metro Life Flight:

  • MetroHealth founded Metro Life Flight on Sept. 1, 1982 as a regional helicopter patient transport system.It was the first critical care helicopter patient transport service established in northeast Ohio.
  • The Life Flight staff consists of more than 100 full- and part-time members.
  • Along with four twin-engine Sikorsky S-76 choppers, Metro Life Flight's fleet has grown to include ground and jet capabilities.
  • A physician/flight nurse critical care team staffs every mission, whether it is in the helicopter, jet or ground unit.
  • Adults comprise 81 percent of those transported by Metro Life Flight, according to statistics gathered in May 2000. Forty-five percent of the missions go to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. The most common medical reasons for using Metro Life Flight are trauma (36 percent), medical/surgical (30 percent) and cardiac (22 percent).