STARS celebrates a decade in Saskatchewan

For ten years in Saskatchewan, a flying ICU awaits patients who are in need of critical care in the province.
STARS is celebrating 10 years in the air in Saskatchewan officially as of April 30, and invited media for a tour that included a look at a helicopter, and their patient simulators.
When they are dispatched to a call, STARS air medical crew member Darren Entner goes through what would happen for the crew.
“If we were dispatched, from the time of dispatch until the time we’re in the air, is about eight minutes,” Entner said. “The pilots accept the mission (based on the) weather. Then the transport physician or up to Saskatoon, the crew would be dispatched and they would get in an aircraft.”
After a few procedures by the pilots, the H145 Airbus is in the air headed out to potentially save someone’s life.
The helicopters are good to fly in up to 100 kilometre an hour wind, although they won’t go up in a lightning storm, dense fog or icing. Onboard radar would be able to tell a way around if any storms pop up and flight crews review weather for every trip to determine the flight safety.
STARS have already made several adjustments over the years due to their experience. They now carry blood on board, with two units of O-negative blood going into their units in 2013. Since then, 200 patients in need have received blood. Responding to a need to expand their range, they have also stored fuel caches around the province.
Critical care nurse Tammy Haggerty, who has 25 years of experience, describes what happens when they get dispatched to go out to a call.
“Obviously when the 911 call comes in, we get a little bit of the information on what’s going on with the patient,” Haggerty said. “And then when we get out to the call on our flight out, we discuss … the paramedic and the nurse will discuss the call and decide what we need to do and have a plan when arrive on scene.”
It’s the kind of job that would make many crumble under stress but the staff at the Regina STARS base is not like many.
“We thrive on that,” Entner said. “That’s why we’re here. We… give people their best chance on their worst day, and that’s why we keep coming back to work. I feel in my heart of hearts that I know we have one of the elite crews, anywhere. And we give people that chance that they wouldn’t have had previously.”
STARS went to 901 missions in Saskatchewan in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

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