U.S. Army air ambulance operations in El Paso, Texas: A descriptive study and system review

R. T. Gerhardt, T. Stewart, R. A. De Lorenzo, J. S. McGhee, E. J. Gourley, M. A. Schreiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Analysis of a high-volume military air ambulance unit and review of the U.S. Army air medical transport system and Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) program. Setting: A remote medical system with numerous ground emergency medical services. Inclusion: All patients transported between January 1, 1996, and February 28, 1998. Exclusion: Patients who were dead on the scene or for whom records were unavailable. Methods: Retrospective review of transport and available inpatient records. Results: A total of 517 patients were transported during the study period; 461 patients met the inclusion criteria (89%). Of these, 70% were classified as trauma patients, and 30% had medical or other surgical diagnoses. Prehospital responses accounted for 71.6% of transports, and 28.4% were interhospitai transfers. Missions averaged 23.4 minutes per flight, with no major aircraft mishaps. Prehospital utilization review showed appropriate use; 35% of interhospital trauma missions and 11% of interhospital nontrauma missions were staffed inadequately by our criteria. Time intervals, procedures, and program impact are discussed. Conclusion: This and similar units participating in the MAST program provide effective air transport in settings underserved by civilian programs. Quality and wartime readiness could be improved by centralized medical direction, treatment and transfer protocols, and enhanced training of medics. Further investigations of the clinical impact of advanced training and a two-medic aircrew model are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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