U.S. Army air ambulance operations in El Paso, Texas: A descriptive study and system review

Robert T. Gerhardt, Tamara Stewart, Robert A. De Lorenzo, Eric J. Gourley, Martin A. Schreiber, James S. McGhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives. To analyze a high-volume military air ambulance unit and review the U.S. Army air medical transport system and Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) program. Methods. The setting was a remote medical system with numerous ground emergency medical services. All patients transported between January 1, 1996, and February 28, 1998, were included. Patients who were dead on scene or for whom records were unavailable were excluded. A retrospective review of transport and available inpatient records was conducted. Results. Five hundred seventeen patients were transported during the study period; 461 patients met inclusion criteria (89%). Of these, 70% were classified as trauma; 30% possessed medical or other surgical diagnoses. Prehospital responses numbered 71.6%, while 28.4% were interhospital transfers. Missions averaged 23.4 minutes per flight, with no major aircraft mishaps. Prehospital utilization review showed appropriate use; 35% of interhospital trauma and 11% of interhospital nontrauma missions were staffed inadequately by these criteria. Time intervals, procedures, and program impact are discussed. Conclusion. This and similar units participating in the MAST program provide effective air transport in settings underserved by civilian programs. Quality and wartime readiness could be improved by centralized medical direction, treatment and transfer protocols, and enhanced training of medics. Further investigations of the clinical impact of advanced training and a two-medic aircrew model are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-143
Number of pages8
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Air medical transport
  • Emergency medical services
  • Military medicine
  • Prehospital care
  • Utilization review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


Dive into the research topics of 'U.S. Army air ambulance operations in El Paso, Texas: A descriptive study and system review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this