New helicopter joins Penn State Hershey Life Lion fleet

Penn State Hershey Life Lion recently welcomed a new addition to its life-saving fleet. The newest Life Lion, an American Eurocopter AS365N2 model commonly known as a Dauphin helicopter, took flight on Friday, July 20, and transported its first patient from York County to Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Of the three Dauphin helicopters the Medical Center owns, this is the fleet’s first N2 model. However, this isn’t the only first for this aircraft -- it also features more power, new safety and navigation features, and a breakthrough technology called video laryngoscopy.

The new C-MAC® laryngoscope is designed to assist crew members in placing a breathing tube for patients who require a ventilator, an already difficult skill that is further complicated by the air safety and flight constraints that are necessary in a Life Lion helicopter. It features a tiny camera on the tip of the scope that improves the practitioner’s view of the airway, so they can place the tube more successfully.

In addition to improving patient safety, the laryngoscope can also record video and capture photos of the airway, a useful tool to inform doctors about their patient’s condition.

“In the case of a patient who had burns on the inside of their throat, the crew members used the new laryngoscope to take multiple pictures on the way into the airway so the burn doctors could see what it looked like for themselves,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lubin, division chief, transport medicine, Penn State Hershey Life Lion Critical Care Transport and Life Lion EMS.

The new helicopter also operates with higher power than ever before, which allows it to carry more team members: six including the patient and pilot, and up to four care providers. “The new Life Lion gives us less out-of-service time, more capacity to safely transport through marginal weather, and more capacity to take patients with more complex needs,” said Lubin. “Our hope is that all of these factors will increase our ability to respond to the needs of the community.”

With the addition of the new Eurocopter N2, the Life Lion fleet consists of two helicopters that are based on the Medical Center campus, the third at Carlisle Airport - and at all times, two of the three aircraft are in service.

To see a video tour of the new helicopter, go to the video at http://goo.gl/iwfme online.

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Last Updated August 16, 2012