MANHASSET, N.Y. — The North Shore-LIJ Health System recently announced the launch of the New York area’s first hospital-based Helicopter Emergency Medical Service. The program, called SkyHealth, is a partnership with Yale-New Haven Health in Connecticut. Patients of both health systems who need lifesaving care for major traumas, heart attack, stroke and other life-threatening brain injuries will receive emergency medical care by helicopter and be quickly flown to the most appropriate hospital.
North Shore-LIJ is investing $7 million toward the helicopter and $6.5 million to build a rooftop helipad at North Shore University Hospital, which was verified as a Level I trauma center by the American College of Surgeons – the first hospital in the downstate region to receive this designation.
This new capability is important because North Shore-LIJ hospitals stretch as far west as Westchester County and as far east as Bay Shore in Suffolk County. Flying at an average speed of 130 miles per hour, the helicopter cuts travel time significantly. For example, a helicopter flight from Southside Hospital in Bay Shore to NSUH in Manhasset is about 10-15 minutes, while an ambulance could take 40 minutes or more depending on traffic.
NSUH’s new rooftop helipad, scheduled to be completed early next month, will allow for quicker and safer landings of patients requiring medevac transport. For more than two years, the Nassau County Police Aviation Bureau has provided key input on the design and safety of the helipad, which will become a trauma center destination for the county’s medevac helicopters. The helipad, perched 23 feet above the hospital’s roof, is also available to Suffolk County and New York City police departments, and other hospitals that want to transport critically ill patients to NSUH.
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