After a period of almost 2 months, Lifeliner 5 made the last operational flight on 20 May 2020. This flight between Hamburg and Venlo ended an intense period during the COVID-19 crisis.
As of the 24th of March the fifth Mobile Medical Team (MMT) took to the air with an additional trauma helicopter to quickly transport intensive care patients. This helicopter was deployable throughout the Netherlands.
In view of the growth in the number of patients infected with the coronavirus, it has been decided to use this helicopter in addition to the existing MMT service to get patients to the right hospital even faster and thus relieve the burden on road transport.
The helicopter (type H145) was made available by the ANWB Medical Air Assistance (MAA) and has been fully equipped by Radboudumc for the transport of intensive care patients. The team flew in protective gear to avoid getting infected. The helicopter was completely disinfected after each transport.
The helicopter, which is normally in use as an ambulance helicopter to serve the Wadden Islands, was temporarily based at Volkel Airbase and available from 7 in the morning till 7 in the evening. Between the 6th of April and the 2nd of May the second “Waddenheli” was also put in use as an MMT Helicopter, this Lifeliner 6 was based at Groningen Eelde Airport. During this period a NH90 of the Royal Netherlands Airforce was on stand-by to carry out ambulance duties for the Wadden Islands.
The helicopter crew consists of a pilot, a specialized MMT nurse and an anesthetist-MMT doctor. This helicopter is larger than the regular helicopter used by MMTs and offers more space to transport a patient and to provide proper care.
Lifeliner 5 transported the last COVID-19 intensive care patient on Wednesday, May 20. Due to the decreasing number of corona patients, long-distance interregional intensive care transport is no longer necessary. IC patients can also be transported by road over a short distance from 22 May.
Lifeliner 5 was made available by ANWB Medical Air Assistance at the time of increasing demand for MICU transport, and was fully equipped by the ANWB together with Radboudumc for the transport of intensive care patients with the COVID-19 virus. The medical crew consisted of members of the regular MMT of the Radboudumc. Lifeliner 5 transported 66 corona patients and 2 non-COVID intensive care patients from the Volkel site. Most of the patients came from hospitals in the south of the country and were brought to the north of the Netherlands and to Germany, and vice versa.
The Lifeliner 5 last flew with a corona patient from Hamburg to Venlo on Wednesday 20 May. This patient had spent six weeks in Germany – without a visit – at the ICU and was allowed to return to Venlo that day. Lifeliner 5 returned to its regular location in Lelystad on Friday 22 May, where it will be used as a backup ambulance helicopter for flights between the Wadden Islands and the mainland.