On a rooftop Naara Zapata had a moment when everything she had ever learned clicked together.
Naara, a flight nurse working on Northwell Health’s SkyHealth helicopter, had just landed on the roof of North Shore University Hospital. They were transporting a very fragile patient to the Level One Trauma Center.
SkyHealth, implemented by Northwell in 2014, gives us the ability to transport critical care patients to our trauma center in a helicopter equipped with the same sophisticated technology available in the most innovative of operating rooms, emergency rooms and intensive care units.
Saving a life inside a helicopter
The patient was on full life support with multiple drips and a ventilator. As the pilot escorted the woman’s husband inside and Naara’s partner prepared the stretcher, her patient went pale.
“Click. Assess. No pulse. Cardiac Arrest,” says Naara of what she did in that moment. “Click. Charge defibrillator. Inform partner. ‘Clear!’ Deliver one shock. Click. Assess. Pulse restored. Color returning. And she was back.”
Naara later discovered she was the first SkyHealth crew member to treat a cardiac arrest while inside the helicopter.
Using data to predict the need for emergency care
“But I didn’t save that patient’s life by myself,” she says. “Everything that happened on that rooftop was a direct result of Northwell’s commitment to disruptive thinking, to doing things differently, to never being satisfied with where we are.
“Northwell makes sure our helicopter and other ambulances are in the right places at the exact moments our patients need us. We’ve disrupted dispatch!”
Instead of passively waiting for calls, the team uses predictive data analytics to ensure Northwell ambulances are proactively positioned where they need to be, saving precious minutes and lives.
“My dispatch colleagues were with me on that rooftop, seamlessly coordinating transport so I could focus solely on my patient.”