Seven Navy helicopter crew members flew in for a meet-and-greet and joint training with members of the trauma and security teams at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Navy Helicopter Crew, Sentara Norfolk Trauma Team Conduct Training

A gray Navy MH-60 helicopter created a stir on the helipad at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. It’s twice as big and much louder than any helicopter ambulance and takes up all the space on the upper level of the pad. Seven crew members from squadron HSC-28 flew in for a meet-and-greet and joint training with members of the trauma and security teams at Hampton Roads’ busy Level I trauma center.

“We work with military helicopters from all the branches,” said Denise Baylous, RN, Nightingale manager who invited the Navy to the session. “We want to be sure we’re communicating well, sharing our radio frequencies and training our team members in how to safely remove a patient from a Navy aircraft.”

The MH-60 is a multi-purpose aircraft used for cargo handling, missile firing and search and rescue (SAR) operations as required. Flight crews have been known to deliver an injured sailor to SNGH with 50-caliber machine guns mounted in the doors and missile racks hanging on the sides. Getting a patient onto a gurney with weaponry in the way can take some maneuvering. Approaching the aircraft with its huge rotors still spinning is a different procedure than Nightingale or other air ambulances, which turn off their motors before opening the rear doors.

“It taught us how the different workers here at the hospital are mobilized,” said Lt. j.g. Brittany Harris, a pilot with HSC-28. “We got to teach them how to safely approach the aircraft under the rotor arc and we learned what information we need to pass along to them over the radio when we’re inbound.”

Sentara Norfolk General averages about 200 helicopter evolutions per month by EMS and military aircraft. Radio communication with Nightingale dispatch is key to safe interactions.