When a motorist is injured in a traffic accident in Maryland, responding ambulance crews must decide whether the injured will go by ambulance to a nearby hospital or by helicopter to a trauma center.
No matter what the situation, it is emergency medical providers on the ground who are responsible for making the split-second decisions of whether to call in a helicopter.
A number of factors are taken into account, including the type of injury, where it occurred, whether a person is conscious and the distance from the nearest hospital or trauma center, according to Western Region supervisor Sgt. Joe George.
A story published March 30 in a Maryland newspaper said that about half of the patients flown to a trauma center by state police helicopters are not seriously injured and are released within 24 hours.