Lutheran Air Flight Program
The Lutheran Air and Lutheran Air II medical helicopters are part of Lutheran Hospital's critical care transport fleet that also includes four mobile intensive care units, or MICUs, two of which are in service 24/7.
Lutheran Air began transporting patients in 2004. As the Lutheran Air flight program has become more established as an option for air medical transport, Lutheran Health Network has worked with multiple communities and hospitals to address their specific needs. The critical care transport team is dedicated to supporting first responders and caregivers throughout the tri-state region by providing them with the tools necessary to get their patients the highest level of care available as quickly and safely as possible.
Lutheran contracts with Air Methods to provide the aircraft, pilots and flight mechanics. Air Methods is the only air medical operator in the country to reach Level 4 of the voluntary Safety Management System program overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration. To achieve SMS Level 4, Air Methods implemented multiple voluntary safety programs more commonly associated with commercial airlines.
Although Lutheran Air is primarily known for transporting seriously injured patients from the scene of an accident or burn patients, another important service of the flight program is to quickly transport patients who are in need of advanced cardiac care. After becoming the first hospital in northeastern Indiana to achieve accreditation as a chest pain center in 2004, Lutheran set out to build the Level 1 Heart network that was introduced in 2008 to enhance the level of care for acute heart attack patients across the region. Level I Heart incorporates a phone system that connects regional hospitals to Lutheran and alerts the ER so that physicians and staff in the cardiac catheterization lab or surgery department are ready to expedite care upon the patient's arrival at the hospital.
Lutheran Air is part of a full spectrum of critical and specialty services offered by the Lutheran Health Network which includes level II adult and pediatric trauma centers at Lutheran Hospital and the St. Joseph Regional Burn Center. Lutheran Hospital offers American College of Surgeons-verified adult and pediatric trauma centers. Both centers earned the level II designation in 2009 and achieved reverification in 2012. The medical director of Lutheran's level II pediatric trauma center is David A. Smith, MD. The medical director of Lutheran's level II adult trauma center is Donald N. Reed Jr., MD.
Patients in need of neurological, pediatric, neonatal, orthopedic and toxicological care may also require transport via Lutheran Air depending on their specific medical condition.
The home base for Lutheran Air is Fort Wayne International Airport. The home base for Lutheran Air II is Wabash Municipal Airport, a geographically important location for patients living in communities that make up the southern and western portions of Lutheran Health Network's 23-county service area.