This afternoon the Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Seán Clancy and the General Officer Commanding Air Corps, Brigadier General Rory O’Connor attended the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Emergency Aeromedical Service in Baldonnel Aerodrome.
The Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS), which has residence in Custume Barracks, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, is a joint project between the HSE and the Defence Forces. Air Corps flight crews work alongside National Ambulance Service Advance Paramedics in a dedicated military helicopter for the rapid transfer of critical patients to the most appropriate hospital in the country.
Initially set up in 2012 for a 12- month trial period, the aim was to assess the level and type of dedicated Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) required in Ireland in light of recent closures of regional facilities such as Roscommon Hospital. Since its inception, it has become a vital asset in terms of critical pre-hospital care and has completed over 3500 missions.
Serving and retired personnel who worked with the Emergency Aeromedical Service were present at the celebration alongside a number of patients and their families who required the services of EAS over the last decade.
General Officer Commanding Air Corps, Brigadier General Rory O’Connor said “this service has made an incredible difference to the people of the State. It’s the hard work, dedication and professionalism of the people involved in providing the service that should be acknowledged here today”.
Medical Director National Ambulance Service, Professor Cathal O’Donnell said “I think it is important to remember that at the heart of this collaboration is the patient, that person who is having the worst day of their life, that’s the reason we are doing this and the benefit this collaboration brings to so many people and their families”.
Johnny Lyons, a patient who was transferred using this service in November 2019 after he was attacked by a bull on his farm and was airlifted from Killimor to Galway said “this service saved my life, I live in a rural area and the helicopter was with me in 7 minutes from Athlone and I was in Galway Hospital 11 minutes after that. That was vital for me with the injuries that I had sustained.”