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News Seton Builds 'Home-away-from-home' for STAR Flight

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Community gathers for grand opening celebration of STAR Flight's new 1,175-square-foot quarters at Dell Children's

AUSTIN, Texas - (Jan. 19, 2012) - On Thursday, Jan. 19, Seton Health Care Family, STAR Flight and Central Texas community leaders gathered at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas for a grand opening celebration of STAR Flight's first on-site, live-in accommodations at the hospital. With its completion, "home" for STAR Flight now carries new meaning.

The 1,175-square-foot, specialized accommodations include three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a "communications room" that allows the pilots to be linked in to the network transport and emergency systems, and a full kitchen equipped with two additional specialty refrigerators/freezers, one to hold blood and a second to store medications.

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(For more photos from the event are posted on flickr.com)

"There are only a select number of pediatric facilities in the country with this advanced level of trauma care," said Dr. James Kempema, STAR Flight medical director, referring to Dell Children's Level I Trauma Center designation-the highest for trauma care. "Being on-site allows us to be part of the care process and learn from Dell Children's medical experts to enhance the care that STAR Flight provides children in transport."

Dell Children's hosts STAR Flight's second on-site hospital quarters in Central Texas. The region's first STAR Flight crew quarters were established at University Medical Center Brackenridge 25 years ago. Work has just begun to upgrade the UMCB quarters.

The projects are part of Seton Healthcare Family's expanded agreement with STAR Flight, which establishes or upgrades live-in accommodations at Seton's two Level I trauma centers-Dell Children's and UMC Brackenridge.

"The Seton Healthcare Family's long and evolving relationship with STAR Flight is a demonstration of our shared commitment to provide critically ill or injured Central Texans the best possible access to emergency care," said Greg Hartman, president and CEO of Seton's Central Group, which includes UMC Brackenridge and Seton Medical Center Austin.

Since 1985, STAR Flight's extensive rescue service has included everything from the transport of critically ill patients to fire fighting and law enforcement.

While the majority of STAR Flight's responses are to assist people experiencing medical problems or suffering from traumatic injuries, STAR Flight is also a critical component of the neonatal transport program, and responds to requests from rural hospitals to transport very sick patients to larger, better-equipped hospitals.

Seton's collaboration with STAR Flight has expanded ever since the 2007 Level I designations of the trauma centers at UMC Brackenridge and Dell Children's. Other Seton responsibilities include providing necessary blood for the STAR Flight crew via the Seton Blood Bank and a Seton training program that allows STAR Flight members to participate in clinical rotations.

"The training opportunities have better prepared the STAR Flight crews for the most critical situations," Ping said.

Since inception, STAR Flight has transported more than 24,500 patients over nearly 700,000 miles.

Commented Judge Samuel T. Biscoe, Travis County Judge, about the County's 25-year relationship with STAR Flight, "The collaboration between Travis County, STAR Flight and Seton has been and continues to be critical to the well-being of our community. Expanding access to care makes a tremendous difference in the health and survival of patients."

Fast facts

STAR Flight missions (1985-2011)

  • Since inception, STAR Flight has flown more than 21,000 hours and more than 1,900,000 miles.
    The team has transported more than 24,500 patients over nearly 700,000 miles.
  • STAR Flight has also flown more than 300 fire missions, 750 rescue missions and 800 law missions.
    Seton Healthcare Family STAR Flight quarters.
  • First on-site, live-in hospital accommodations for STAR Flight at Dell Children's Medical Center and second in the region. The existing STAR Flight quarters at University Medical Center Brackenridge are currently being remodeled.
  • STAR Flight quarters at Dell Children's are 1,175 square feet.
  • Accommodations include three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one shower, washer/dryer, locker, communications room, a full kitchen with specialty-monitored blood refrigerator and refrigerator/freezer for medications.
  • New features on the helipad include 8,000-gallon, above-ground fuel storage tank, state-of-the-art automatic foam fire suppression system and expanded storage area.
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