Happy Birthday Nightingale! Sentara air ambulance celebrates first anniversary

The Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance service has operated for 30 years. Last year, the service's 4th helicopter was introduced with improved capabilities.

In its first year, it flew 556 missions; three times the Eurocopter EC-145 flew two patients at once, including victims of car accidents and a parasailing accident. Twice, it flew round-trip to Ocracoke Island without stopping for fuel -- previously it was necessary to stop in Edenton to refuel. "The longer range of the new aircraft saves 15 minutes in getting our patient back to Sentara Norfolk General from the island," says Denise Baylous, RN, flight nurse and manager of the Nightingale program. It can also fly to Charlottesville and back without refueling.

The new craft is also equipped with auto-pilot and night vision equipment that enhance safetly. Its expanded space to accommodate 2 patients also saves valuable time in a critical situation.

Nightingale's base hospital, Sentara Norfolk General, is the region's only Level 1 trauma center.

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