Boston MedFlight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that for 35 years has provided critical care transport to patients in need by air and ground. We care for more than 4,700 patients annually, including the most critically ill and injured infants, children and adults. As a nonprofit, our organization provides over $4 million in free and unreimbursed care to patients in need with little or no medical insurance.
We have always served as the link between community hospitals and larger tertiary care facilities. Now, as our region and our nation face the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams are on the front lines of caring for the sickest and most vulnerable patients suffering from this virus.
In the past several weeks, we have transported more than 375 COVID-19 patients, and on some days as many as 12-15 in a single 24-hour period. These are complicated, time intensive transports requiring clinical expertise and advanced medicine. Given our crews’ experience in managing the most severe cases in their daily work transporting patients, Boston MedFlight is uniquely qualified to handle cases involving COVID-19 patients and is the only nonprofit transport service in the area caring for these patients daily.
Approximately 75% of our transport calls are now for COVID patients, 90% being transported by our critical care ambulances. These patients are in serious respiratory distress. All of our vehicles, including our helicopters and fixed-wing airplane, are equipped with onboard respirators, and our skilled staff are able to provide advanced tertiary respiratory care.
The highly contagious aspects of the disease add a new layer of complexity to the transport. The preparation for transport and clean-up of vehicles after transporting a COVID-19 patient is significant. Following all transports of COVID patients, the ambulances and aircraft go through an extensive cleaning that takes about 75 minutes.
Our employees are our most valuable asset and have been staying healthy so far, despite the added stress of battling a pandemic. Similar to most healthcare facilities across the state, the supply of precious personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff is a concern. The crews at Boston MedFlight caring for COVID patients and the operational staff who keep Boston MedFlight running—nurses, paramedics, EMTs, pilots, communication technicians, ground support/logistics teams and base managers—have been nothing short of extraordinary. They are rising to the occasion and caring for the most vulnerable populations. Their dedication, commitment and courage deserve our deepest appreciation.
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Maura Hughes has been with Boston MedFlight for more than two decades, serving as CFO for the first 18 years and currently as CEO. She has helped grow Boston MedFlight to a team of more than 160 staff with headquarters at Hanscom Field in Bedford and bases in Lawrence, Plymouth and Mansfield, MA.