Helipads at the new surgical facility of the Hamad General Hospital will slash the time for transportation and transfer of patients to the operation theatre or the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) from about 20 to three minutes, once they are flown into the premises, a senior official said.
Three helicopters are used for the  LifeFlight operations of the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). Two helicopters are in operation round-the-clock while the third is on standby as a back-up.
The new surgical centre, expected to be operational within two to three weeks, has two helipads on the top of the building to facilitate speedy transportation of the patients.
“The old system used to take about 20 minutes while using the helipad atop the parking building adjacent to the Out Patient Department,” recalled Ali Darwish, assistant director ambulance service, HMC, during a media tour of the new facility.
The patient had to be brought down in the elevator, transferred to an ambulance and driven to the emergency department, before unloading to the theatre or the ICU. With the new helipads, the ambulance part is unnecessary and the patient can be transferred in three minutes.
“With the new helipads, all we have to do is to land on the roof of the building. The patient will be directly taken to the operation theatre or the ICU. There is a big elevator, which can accommodate two stretchers, and lead the patient to the appropriate treatment station. It takes about three minutes after landing, if the patient is not very heavy and if everything is normal.”
Darwish also said that the details of the patient were conveyed to the people at the surgical centre well before he or she was brought in. “The ambulance service will communicate with the clinicians at the centre all information such as the age, gender and the type of disease or injury, but also all the vital records and other details.
“This will help them prepare a special team to attend the case. So when the patient is brought, they are ready and quick treatment can be ensured.”
According to Dr Ruben Peralta Rosario, senior consultant, Surgery and Critical Care, HMC, the new helipads will help in saving lives by ensuring quick treatment and avoiding any delay.
“In trauma and injury cases, time is the essence. Patients have to be treated within the ‘golden hour’ or the first hour or two, for proper recovery.”
HMC has also got another helipad, on the ground near Women’s Hospital. All helipads are operational and can land helicopters round-the-clock.
The helicopters are primarily used to transport seriously-injured persons as quickly as possible from the scene of an emergency to hospital. A helicopter is sent in case of a medical emergency outside Doha.
The Ambulance Service receives more than 100,000 calls each year with 1,454 staff, 167 ambulances, 20 rapid response vehicles and two helicopters to respond to.

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