News 18 boards LifeLine chopper, gives behind the scene views

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – For the past five years, IU Health LifeLine has been based out of IU Health Arnett in Lafayette.

However, two weeks ago crew members transitioned to a new facility at the Purdue Airport.

News 18 This Morning’s Krista Henery flew along with a LifeLine crew and gave viewers a bird’s eye view of what it’s like to be on board.

From pilots to critical care nurses, respiratory therapists and EMTs, IU Health LifeLine is staffed with experts across the medical field.

“They complement each other,” LifeLine pilot Don Dombroski said. “When they work together, they know exactly what role each one has and it just flows.”

“The pilots now have an aerial view of the weather, so they have real time weather,” Lafayette’s LifeLine Base Manager Jeremy Nickell said. “We also have a hangar that we can do maintenance through here as well. So, there are a lot of logistic opportunities for us to be out here at Purdue.”

Dombroski has worked as a LifeLine pilot for about 10 years. He said having this resource available in the community is often the difference between life and death situations.

“That golden hour, that’s when you must have immediate care,” Dombroski explained. “We can get you to Indianapolis in 20 or 25 minutes.”

LifeLine provides care for the most critically ill and injured patients 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

“We go everywhere from Chicago to Lousiville, Cincinnati and Evansville,” Dombroski said. “We cover for each other because there are only five bases, but there are only two helicopters with peds neonatal teams, so it’s not uncommon for us to go somewhere like Evansville from here.”

However, Dombroski said perhaps one of the most important things about his crew is the way they work together like a family.

“Weekly, I see our team save lives,” Dombroski explained. “I have so much respect for everyone because they do it on a daily basis. I just have all the respect in the world for my crew. They’re just fantastic.”

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