Innovation

CareFlight’s ground-breaking Stretcher Bridge System

CareFlight’s pursuit of excellence has led CareFlight to play a major role in the evolution of critical care transport systems in Australia.

This is particularly well illustrated in the CareFlight ‘Stretcher Bridge’ System, a mobile intensive care unit.

This compact unit enables all monitoring, ventilation and infusion devices to be securely transported with the patient, regardless of retrieval mode.

The idea was developed in 1987, by practicing CareFlight doctors, only a year after the service started flying.

The Stretcher Bridge contains the key equipment required in a trauma emergency. It is mounted on the stretcher over the patient’s legs.

Until the stretcher-bridge was used, equipment was bolted to the inside of the helicopter or air ambulance aircraft.

Nowadays, from the time the stretcher is rushed to the patient, all the equipment goes with it and everything is on hand for immediate use. This means that trauma teams can be independent of purpose-built transport.

Many of CareFlight’s patients are on full life-support, using the stretcher-bridge concept, monitoring and life-support systems go from the scene to the hospital without interruption or re-connection.

A completely new concept when first developed by CareFlight’s founders, this kind of system is now the industry standard and used for aeromedical rescues worldwide.

 

Reference:  Wishaw KG, Munford BJ, Roby HB. The careflight stretcher bridge: a compact mobile intensive care unit. Anaesth Intens Care 1990;18:234-45. (see more Medical Publications here)