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Homeland Security

Aeromedical evacuation hub established at Lackland

by Master Sgt. Paul Fazzini
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

9/3/2005 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFPN)  -- Patients from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport are now being flown to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where a hub has been established to support Hurricane Katrina aeromedical evacuation operations.

Base officials said the location was chosen as a hub because of its ramp accessibility, and the fact that there are 31 area hospitals to transport patients within the geographical area.

As patients are brought to the medical hub, they are processed for future transport to one of the nearby hospitals or trauma centers.

“Because the patients are already triaged in New Orleans, we already know where they’re going to be taken, so the process is very efficient,” said Tech. Sgt. Colleen Roundtree, a 433rd Airlift Wing spokeswoman. “The trauma patients are immediately taken to the trauma centers, and the other patients are taken to regular hospitals.”

AE officials are hoping to be able to handle up to 2,000 patients per day by the end of the week, Sergeant Roundtree said. More than 10,000 evacuees at the New Orleans airport are in need of medical attention.

To help provide medical support to the displaced victims in the hurricane-devastated region, Air Mobility Command officials moved expeditionary medical support Airmen from Illinois, Maryland and Florida. The Airmen are supporting the Medical Rapid Response Force established at the New Orleans airport.

"They have all the capabilities on the ground to set up a medical operation, but because they are operating efficiently out of one of the airport's terminals, the team has not set up the Expeditionary Medical System," said Capt. Tim Smith, Aeromedical Evacuation Mission Support chief.

The system provides rapid response, resuscitative surgery and emergency medical support personnel.

To date, more than 811 patients have been flown to Lackland. (Courtesy of AMC News Service)

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