DETROIT (CBS Detroit) The blue and gold chopper from the University of Michigan Medical Center soon won’t be the only one available to swoop onto accident scenes and whisk the injured to care.

William Beaumont Hospital, based in Royal Oak, is taking to the skies with a new air medical transportation service, Beaumont One. The twin-engine EC135 helicopter launched August 13 to transport patients in Michigan and northern Ohio.

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(credit: Mike Campbell)

The chopper is necessary for the “expanded organ transplant program and an increase in patients from outside Southeast Michigan,” a Beaumont spokesman said.

Beaumont is contracting with PHI Air Medical to offer the new air medical service, which will transport patients between hospitals and from accident scenes.

“Beaumont One will give residents, referring physicians and law enforcement agencies quicker access to complex medical care and the only Level I Trauma Center in Oakland and Macomb counties,” explains Patrick Pettengill, M.D., emergency medicine specialist and Beaumont One, medical director. “When time is critical, our flight crews can perform transports without concerns about traffic conditions on the ground.”

A study published in the April 18 Journal of the American Medical Association compared trauma survival rates in patients transported to hospitals by helicopter and ground services.  Patients with major trauma flown by helicopter to Level I or II Trauma Centers had a higher rate of survival: 16 percent higher for Level I centers and 15 percent higher for Level II centers.

Phoenix-based PHI Air Medical, L.L.C., is the leading air ambulance provider in the U.S. PHI is providing the helicopter and the 14-member Beaumont One flight team, including pilots, paramedics, nurses and mechanics. When not on the pad at Beaumont, Royal Oak or making flights, the helicopter will be housed at Oakland/Troy Airport.

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“PHI has a very focused, personal approach and we are proud of the important work of our customers,” explains Sean O’Neal, regional director, PHI Air Medical. “We have invested greatly to ensure that our operations are comprised of the finest professionals, processes, technology and aircraft in the industry. Safety is our No.1 priority. Our total company safety record far exceeds the national average. In fact, we were the first company to receive the Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award. The pilots and maintenance technicians assigned to air medical duty are among the most experienced, dedicated and best trained in the world.”

Beaumont One is an American Eurocopter, model EC135 featuring:

• cruising speed – 140 miles per hour

• range – 350 miles

• cabin capacity – 6 (including pilot)

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While Beaumont has collaborated with area air medical transportation services in the past, Beaumont One will be the organization’s first dedicated, full-time flight service based at Beaumont. Along with hospital transfers, the service will take on a new role in assisting law enforcement agencies at accident scenes providing trauma transport.