Shriners Hospital Transport Team Chosen as "Fixed Wing Team of the Year"
Published October 2003
The Transport Team at Shriners Hospital for Children has been chosen to
receive an "Award of Excellence" by the American Association of Medical
Services (AAMS). The award recognizes a fixed wing team making
significant contributions to enhance the development or promote the
improvement of patient care and safety, in the area of aircraft teams.
The Cincinnati Hospital team is the only pediatric transport team
devoted to the transport of burn children in the country, and one of
150 other fixed wing teams in the country eligible for the award.
The air ambulance transports critically burned children
from the Midwest and Southeastern United States to the Cincinnati
Shriners Hospital for specialized burn care. The Transport Team's
program, developed in 1988, is staffed by 18 of the hospital's burn
care nurses and respiratory therapists, and supervised by the medical
team. As with the medical care provided at Shriners, there is no cost
to the family for the transportation arrangements. Local Shrine centers
from the referring hospital's location sponsor the patient, picking up
the cost of the transport, which averages $5,200 per flight.
"We strive to ensure the safest transport of our
patients, while at the same time instilling measures to enhance the
survival of our patients. We transport children who have suffered the
devastation of a burn injury, which effects not just their skin, but
involves aggressive airway and ventilatory management, precise fluid
resuscitation, temperature management, and compassionate pain
management," states Rodney Plapp, respiratory therapist and Flight Team
member. "At the same time, we are bringing a family member with us who
may have just gone through one of the most tragic events of their life.
It is a very emotional experience on many levels."
"We are quite honored to receive this award," says
Teresa Merk, RN, BSN, CMTE, Flight Team coordinator at the Cincinnati
hospital. "Our team is privileged to be able to offer this service for
patients and their families who require transport. It has often meant
the difference between life and death for many of the burn patients."
The team can be airborne within 2.5 hours from the time
the initial referral call is received. The first 24-48 hours of a
pediatric burn injury can be extremely critical to the eventual outcome
for the patient, especially if the child is going to be transported. A
severe burn can result in burn shock and massive amounts of fluid loss,
which can disrupt major organ function and cause respiratory
complications. The faster the child is seen by a burn team, the better
their chances for survival.
Since this team is the only one in the Shriners
Hospitals for Children system, they are often called upon to transport
patients for the other hospitals. In 1994 the team began transporting
spinal cord injury patients for both the Chicago and Philadelphia
In July 1996, the Transport Team received full
accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Air Medical
Services (CAMTS), which sets the standard for air medical services and
safety. This endorsement from the Commission has been renewed every
three years since. Shriners Hospital Transport Team has very impressive
- 1376 patients transported
- 990,747 miles flown
- 4,085.96 hours in flight
Shriners Hospitals for Children system is a network of
22 hospitals offering specialized orthopedic, spinal cord injury and
burn injury care to children. No payment is ever sought or received
from the family, the U.S. government or any third-party payer for
For more information about Shriners Hospitals for Children call 1-800-237-5055.