This report introduces and discusses the present state of the helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) in the metropolitan area of South Korea. The data of patients transported by HEMS from April 2007 to June 2009 were provided by Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Management Department. The data of patients subsequently transported to Korea University Guro Hospital were analyzed. During the study period, 725 emergency rescue calls were dispatched and 703 patients were rescued, of which 562 patients were judged by an emergency medical technician to be in a nonemergent condition and were referred to ground emergency medical services and 141 patients were judged as having an emergent situation and were directly transported to a nearby hospital. The data of patients who were transported to Korea University Guro Hospital by HEMS were as follows. The mean age was 51.7±12.1 years; 75.6% were male patients; 28 patients (68.3%) were traumatically injured; the mean of the injury severity score was 13.5±14.7, and 13 patients (46.4%) had an injury severity score of more than 15. No procedures other than basic life support were performed by the emergency medical technicians during transport. The role of HEMS in South Korea is limited to transporting injured patients from locations that cannot be approached by ground emergency medical services. Even though HEMS is essential considering the local mountainous geography of Seoul, Korea, overutilization of HEMS is still suspected in the metropolitan area.
- helicopter emergency medical services
- helicopter retrieval
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine