VCU Health System's MCV Hospitals' Helipad Now On Main Hospital Rooftop
Relocation Shaves Valuable Minutes Off Transport Time For Critically Injured Patients

Richmond, VA. Beginning this week, helicopters that transport critically injured trauma patients to the Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systemís Medical College of Virginia Hospitals will begin landing on the roof of Main Hospital, at 12th and Marshall streets.

Previously, helicopters delivered patients to a landing pad off of Seventh Street, and a waiting ambulance transported patients for the remaining half-mile to VCUHSís Main Hospital. Now, after landing on Main Hospitalís rooftop helipad, patients will be taken by elevator directly to the emergency department or the operating room. The helipad relocation is expected to shave as much as 10 minutes off a trip in which every extra minute can be a matter of life or death for critically injured patients.

"Having the helipad on the rooftop of Main Hospital will make a tremendous difference for our patients," said Rao Ivatury, M.D., director of MCV Hospitalsí Level I Trauma Center. "Not only will the trip from the scene of the accident to the hospital be quicker, we will have the option of taking patients straight to the operating room."

For 17 years, the Virginia State Policeís Medevac helicopter has transported critically injured individuals to MCV Hospitals from all over Central Virginia. While in the air, victims are cared for by specially trained paramedics. Once the helicopter lands, care of the patient is taken over by the hospitalís trauma team, a collaborative effort made up of staff from VCUHSís surgery and emergency medicine departments and other support areas.

"We expect that the considerably reduced transportation time will result in paramedics at accident scenes requesting helicopter transports more frequently," said Ivatury. Because the half-mile drive from the helipad to the hospital has been eliminated, patients will arrive at MCV Hospitals quicker than ever before. "Even accident scenes that are within a 10 minute ambulance drive of the hospital could shorten their trip by using helicopter transport."

MCV Hospitals is the only Level I Trauma Center in Central Virginia and one of just five in the state. As a Level I center, MCV Hospitals provides comprehensive, specialized care for severely injured patients, including 24-hour, on-site surgical staff and dedicated operating room space. Additionally, the center provides treatment of minor to severe burns through its Evans-Haynes Burn Center.

Over 160 patients were transported to MCV Hospitals by helicopter last year. Hospital officials expect that number will increase in the rooftop helipadís first year of operation.

MCV Hospitalsí helipad is the only rooftop helipad in the Greater Richmond area. Forty-five hospitals in the United States have rooftop helipads. One other Virginia hospital Roanokeís Memorial Hospital operates a rooftop helipad. The new helipad has been reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration and approved by the State Fire Marshalís Office.

Plans to relocate the helipad were set in motion last fall because the Virginia Department of Transportationís plan to add lighting along Interstate-95 would interfere with a helicopterís approach to the previous Seventh-Street landing pad. VDOT has provided the hospital with $300,000 toward the $1 million construction costs.

MCV Hospitals was the first facility in Virginia to receive designation as a Level I Trauma Center, which the state began issuing in 1981. The trauma center admits about 200 patients each month.

Date Last Modified: June 05, 2001 Questions/Comments? Contact Us
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