Commonwealth Health’s Emergency Medical Transport Helicopter

Commonwealth One

It’s called “Commonwealth One” and it’s more than an ambulance in the sky. The highly trained pilot, certified flight nurse, and paramedic onboard are transporting and treating emergencies from obstetrics and neonatal to trauma victims to cardiac and surgical patients.

Certified flight nurse Bill Terry says his job is intense but there is downtime for which he’s grateful because it means there’s no serious emergency that needs “Commonwealth One’s” services at that moment. But when the call comes in…

Bill Terry/Certified Flight Registered Nurse: “then when we get going, like 0 to 65. What started out as a calm day, everything gets very quick.”

What surprises people, the general public and the team is the very limited space inside here. It’s really confining. The space may be small but it’s big enough for the team to perform lifesaving procedures even under the most extreme conditions; conditions that require nerves of steel compared to things the rest of us do every day.

Bill Terry/Certified Flight Registered Nurse: “Have you ever driven on 81? I feel safer in this right now.”

So when you see Commonwealth One flying overhead, you know the team is rising to the occasion once again and they ask that you think of just one thing:

Bill Terry/Certified Flight Registered Nurse: “pray for that person being transported…they’re very injured or very sick, we see the sickest of the patients.”

As part of a $90 million-dollar expansion that will connect Regional Hospital and Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, a helipad will be built on top of Regional Hospital. The placement of the new helipad will allow faster access to life-saving care for patients who are transported by air. That expansion project is scheduled for completion in 2020.

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