LifeLine - Evan De Stefano

IU Health LifeLine 2017

IU Health LifeLine serves Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Kentucky. With 5 permanent bases and 6 aircraft flight crews are able to get to any location in the state of Indiana in under an hour. Equipped to handle both adults and pediatric traumas as well as neonatal pediatric transfers. With state of the art equipment and procedures LifeLine is the most advanced and efficient medical transport service on both the ground and air in the region. Below was my summer with these incredible people. The following was shot for the IU Health News network however, certain elements such as names, patient faces, and exact dates are prohibited from being published due to HIPPA laws. 

IU Health ride along with the LifeLine Lafayette, IN airbase on June 12, 2017. Following LifeLine staff: Pilot Werner Winkler, Flight Nurse Venessa Scott, and Flight Paramedic Todd Hope. During the day shadow from 7am-7pm a critical care transport from Elkhart to Methodist Hospital was conducted using the mobile Balloon Pump on board the helicopter. Photographed: (Left) Richmond based flight paramedic Jamie Swboda, (Middle) flight nurse Venessa Scott, (Right) flight paramedic Todd Hope wait at Methodist Hospital during a routine aircraft swap for maintenance. (IU Health/Evan De Stefano)

Critical Care Flight Medic Jamie Swboda (Right), Todd Hope (Left), and Flight Nurse Venessa Scott (Middle) stand onto of IU Health Methodist Hospital on June 12, 2017. The LifeLine team 5 was undergoing a standard and regular aircraft swap with another base in the state. The crew socialized while the pilots performed the mandatory aircraft inspection prior to taking flight for the first time.

Pilot Jeffery Pearson with LifeLine 5 in Lafayette flies a patient from Gary, IN to Methodist Hospital. 

A LifeLine stretcher is seen being unloaded on-top of the Riley Helipad in Indianapolis. 

IU Health ride along with the LifeLine Lafayette, IN airbase on June 12, 2017. Following LifeLine staff: Pilot Werner Winkler, Flight Nurse Venessa Scott, and Flight Paramedic Todd Hope. During the day shadow from 7am-7pm a critical care transport from Elkhart to Methodist Hospital was conducted using the mobile Balloon Pump on board the helicopter. (IU Health/Evan De Stefano)

Venessa Scott prepares patient information en route to Elkhart Hospital. 

Flight operations at night offer much different challenges for LifeLine crews. Not only are potential obstacles not visible but FAA regulations require crews to wear night vision to assist in observing the surroundings of the aircraft.

LifeLine 1 lands on top of Riley Hospital For Children during a routine transfer from Northern Indiana. 

LifeLine Chase 129 is the first of its kind. Based in Morgan County, Chase 129 was designated to the region when the local EMS program pulled out leaving paramedic vacancies in the area. The Chase vehicle accompanied by a backup Ambulance designated 120 support the local EMS with higher level on scene patient care. The chase vehicle is staffed by LifeLines flight paramedics that usually work in the air. Critical Care Flight Paramedics are certified for higher level scopes of work than even your regular paramedic, let alone an EMT. 


Members of LifeLine 1's pediatric neonatal team roll  a isolette on the helipad of Riley Hospital For Children. The team had just dropped a patient off during a routine facility transfer. The isolette allows for infants to be safely transported by air or ground and keep a safe enclosure while allowing medical personal to safely handle the child.

IU Health ride along with the LifeLine Lafayette, IN airbase on June 12, 2017. Following LifeLine staff: Pilot Werner Winkler, Flight Nurse Venessa Scott, and Flight Paramedic Todd Hope. During the day shadow from 7am-7pm a critical care transport from Elkhart to Methodist Hospital was conducted using the mobile Balloon Pump on board the helicopter. (IU Health/Evan De Stefano)

Scroll through to follow the LifeLine 5 adults team pickup a patient in Elkhart, Indiana.

Over half of LifeLine's activity is ground base. Although air transport is the public and most known form of transport the ground ALS/BLS operations fill the interfaculty gaps. Reasons to be transported  by ground might include unsafe skies or shorter and less severe transports both to from hospitals.  

LifeLine Downton Heliport on July 29, 2017.(IU Health/Evan De Stefano)
Critical Care Transport Communication Specialist Mark Chipman monitors LifeLine in both the air and on the ground at the IU Health LifeLine Operations Center in Speedway. The LifeLine facility in Speedway functions as the communication center, base for ground ALS/BLS operations, and training facility. (IU Health/Evan De Stefano)
LifeLine 3 based out of Terre Haute with crew members: Justin Steele (RN BSN CEN CFRN), Levi Lynn (FPC) and Dan Lane (Pilot). (IU Health/Evan De Stefano)
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