Stephens, Drs. Cox, Jansen and KerbyTwo medical students and several Division of Acute Care Surgery faculty and residents were published in the Journal of Surgical Research for their research article, “How Does Mission Ground Time Impact on Population Coverage of Aeromedical Retrieval Systems.”

Article authors from UAB included:

The study evaluates the impact of mission ground time (MGT) – which includes the time required to get the helicopter airborne, as well as time spent at the scene, packaging and loading the casualty into the aircraft – on the proportion of the State’s population that can be taken to a trauma center within one hour.

According to the study, ground emergency medical services are usually dispatched to the scene of an incident first to assess the patient and then call for a helicopter if needed. The time to definitive care therefore includes the helicopter's flight to the scene, flight to the trauma center, and nonflying time.

Estimates of MGT typically vary from 10 to 30 min. The impact of MGT duration on population coverage—the number of residents that could be taken to a trauma center within a set time—is not known. The aim of this study was to compare population coverage for different durations of MGT in a single state, using novel methodology.

The study concluded that MGT significantly impacts the proportion of the population that can be taken to a Level I and/or Level II Trauma Center within an hour. The impact is not linear, reflecting the uneven distribution of the population. Consideration should be given to minimizing MGT to preserve the benefits of aeromedical retrieval.