The LifeFlight Foundation recently received several generous donations and pledges from Bangor Savings Bank, Chichester DuPont Foundation, Cianbro Charitable Foundation and the Ellsworth Rotary, together totaling nearly $60,000, which will be used to purchase an intra-aortic balloon pump. This essential piece of equipment provides critical support to patients suffering cardiac failure as they are being flown to specialty hospitals, often in preparation for a heart transplant or valve replacement. Until now, only the helicopter based in Bangor had the device. With these recent donations, the Lewiston helicopter will also now have a specialized transport balloon pump on board.

“Bangor Savings Bank is pleased to provide support, along with these other organizations, to purchase a piece of equipment that could save the lives of many Mainers,” says Bob Montgomery-Rice, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Bangor Savings Bank.

Most of the time, LifeFlight is seen as a fast transport service, landing on the side of the highway at the scene of an accident. In fact, the care that goes on inside the helicopter is just as important as the speed of the helicopter itself. The equipment found on each aircraft is essential to providing the very best critical care possible.

As one patient recently put it, “I wonder what I will get to experience today that I would have missed out on if LifeFlight had not saved my life.”

The light and compact cardiac balloon pump fits securely inside the LifeFlight helicopters and can easily be loaded and unloaded along with the patient, ensuring a superior level of care. This transportability eliminates potential gaps in care that can occur when the transition from aircraft to critical care units is difficult or cumbersome. LifeFlight transports more than 300 patients each year for serious cardiac issues, making it one of the most common reasons for transport. Many of these patients experience cardiac failure and need the pump to assist their severely weakened heart.

“LifeFlight is an equalizing factor in healthcare in our rural and sparsely populated state. A person having a heart attack on an island or in a remote town has access to lifesaving help because we can be there quickly, evaluate and treat the patient and then bring him or her to a one of the state’s three regional centers that specialize in cardiac emergencies,” said Thomas Judge, Executive Director of LifeFlight of Maine. “The donations from these generous organizations help LifeFlight achieve its vision of making Maine a place in which every person, in every community, has access to the critical care they need when they need it.”

LifeFlight of Maine is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit air medical and critical care transport organization. LifeFlight helicopters, flying at 165 miles per hour, bring lifesaving critical care staff and equipment directly to the patient. It also provides advanced emergency medical training to Maine’s hospitals, emergency medical services (EMS) and public safety agencies. Overseen by 21 physicians, LifeFlight cared for nearly 1,500 critically ill and injured patients in 2013. Since its inception in 1998, LifeFlight has transported more than 17,000 patients from every hospital and nearly all of Maine’s communities and islands. If you would like to learn more about LifeFlight, please visit the website or call 207-230-7092.