Maui Hospital Expands Emergency Care with Around-the-Clock Air Medical Transport

March 12, 2020, 6:01 PM HST · Updated March 12, 6:17 PM
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PC: Dr. Lee Weiss, Medical Director and Chairman of MMMC’s Emergency Department (left) photo by Gaylord Paul Garcia. Helipad at MMMC file photo.

Maui Health announced that beginning April 1, 2020, air ambulance helicopters can now land at Maui Memorial Medical Center’s helipad at night.

Previously, flights were only able to land during daylight hours which required any nighttime emergency air transports to land at the airport and move patients into an ambulance to be driven to the ER. Direct access to Maui Memorial Medical Center’s helipad after dark substantially reduces the time it takes to get patients to the hospital via air ambulance, providing expedited acute and emergency care to patients in need. Maui County’s air ambulance service operates 24 hours, seven days a week, and provides live-saving transport and in-flight medical care for patients in rural areas such as Hana, Molokai, Lanai and West Maui, or those that are either far away and/or hard to reach via accessible roadways.

“Solving the problem of nighttime helicopter landings at Maui Memorial Medical Center is a real game changer,” said Dr. Lee Weiss, Medical Director and Chairman of MMMC’s Emergency Department. As MMMC becomes a more sophisticated tertiary care center, we will increasingly rely on helicopter transfers from Lana’i and other parts of Maui 24/7, 365 days a year. This is our mission. Our patients are depending on us and we cannot fail.”

“The opening of the Maui Memorial helipad for night Medevac missions is great news for the Maui County patients we serve. It also benefits critical patient transfers from the Big Island via GMR Air Medical Services based in Kona. Both GMR helicopters utilize night vision goggles, NVGs, that add to night flight safety,” said Speedy Bailey, Global Medical Response’s Regional Director in Hawaii.

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Maui Memorial Medical Center’s Emergency Department is a Hawaii Designated Level III Trauma Center and the second busiest in the State with approximately 55,000 visits each year. Air ambulance helicopters can travel faster and operate in a wider coverage area than a land ambulance. This makes them particularly useful with Maui’s limited roadway access and traffic congestion. Maui’s air medevac helicopters are equipped with new technologies and the service includes pilots and EMT crews that are specially trained for air medical transport and can provide a high level of care at the scene of a trauma or other medical emergency.

Maui Health is taking extra steps to communicate the extended hours of air ambulance flights to neighboring businesses and homes. For concerns or questions, please call Lisa Paulson, Director of Strategic Communications, at 808-442-5086.

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