medforce aircraft flying
Reasons to Dispatch

Your Quad Cities Emergency Medical Helicopter Service

The mission of Med-Force is to enhance the delivery of medical care and improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. The Med-Force crew’s dedication to this mission is demonstrated every time Med-Force is dispatched to a scene for a traumatic patient, or to a hospital to transport a critically ill patient in need of immediate intervention for life saving measures.

Below is an accumulation of reasons to dispatch MedForce.


  • Trauma score of less than 12
  • Unstable vital signs
  • Significant trauma in patients younger than 12 years old, older than 55 years old, or patients who are pregnant
  • Multisystem injuries including long-bone fractures in different extremities and injuries to more than two body regions
  • Ejection from vehicle
  • Pedestrian or cyclist struck by motor vehicle
  • Death in same passenger compartment as patient
  • Ground provider perception of significant damage to patient’s passenger compartment
  • Penetrating trauma to the abdomen, pelvis, chest, neck, or head
  • Crush injury to the abdomen, chest, or head
  • Fall from significant height
    • Neurologic considerations
    • Glasgow Coma Scale score of less than 10
    • Deteriorating mental status
    • Skull fracture
  • Neurologic presentation suggestive of spinal cord injury
  • Major chest wall injury, including flail chest

    • Pneumothorax and/or hemo-thorax
    • Suspected cardiac injury
  • Significant abdominal pain after blunt trauma

    • Presence of a “seatbelt” sign abdominal wall contusion
    • Obvious rib fracture below the nipple line
  • Major pelvic fracture, including unstable pelvic ring disruption, open pelvic fracture, or pelvic fracture with hypotension                             

    • Orthopedic/extremity considerations
  • Partial or total amputation of a limb, exclusive of digits

    • Finger and/or thumb amputation when emergent surgical evaluation (i.e., for replantation consideration)
    • Fracture or dislocation with vascular compromise
    • Extremity ischemia
  • Open long-bone fractures
  • Two or more long-bone fractures
  • Major burns

    • Involvement of face, head, hands, feet, or genitalia
    • Inhalational injury
    • Electrical or chemical burns
    • Burns with associated injuries
  • Patients with near drowning injuries

Non trauma

Patients have diagnostic and/or therapeutic needs which cannot be met at the referring hospital, and factors such as time, distance, and/or intratransport level of care requirements render ground transport nonfeasible.


Due to regionalization of cardiac care and the time-criticality of the disease process, patients with cardiac diagnoses often undergo interfacility air transport. Patients with the following cardiac conditions may be candidates for air transport:

  • Acute coronary syndromes with time-critical need for urgent interventional therapy, including cardiac catheterization, intra-aortic balloon pump placement, emergent cardiac surgery, unavailable at the referring center.
  • Cardiogenic shock, especially in presence of, or need for, ventricular assist devices or intra-aortic balloon pumps
  • Cardiac tamponade with impending hemodynamic compromise
  • Mechanical cardiac disease, including acute cardiac rupture and decompensating valvular heart disease

Critically Ill Medical or Surgical Patients

  • These patients require a high level of care during transport, may benefit from minimization of out-of-hospital transport time and may also have time-critical need for diagnostic or therapeutic intervention at the receiving facility. 
  • Pre transport cardiac/respiratory arrest
  • Requirement for continuous intravenous vasoactive medications or mechanical ventricular assist to maintain stable cardiac output
  • Risk for airway deterioration, including angioedema, epiglottitis
  • Acute pulmonary failure and/or requirement for sophisticated pulmonary intensive care, including inverse-ratio ventilation, during transport
  • Severe poisoning or overdose requiring specialized toxicology services
  • Urgent need for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, including vascular gas embolism, necrotizing infectious process and carbon monoxide toxicity
  • Requirement for emergent dialysis
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhages with hemodynamic compromise
  • Surgical emergencies such as fasciitis, aortic dissection or aneurysm, or extremity ischemia
  • Pediatric patients for whom referring facilities cannot provide required evaluation and/or therapy


  • In addition to those with need for specialized neurosurgical services, this category is being expanded to include patients requiring transfer to specialized stroke centers. Examples of neurological conditions where air transport may be appropriate include:
  • Central nervous system hemorrhage Spinal cord compression by mass lesion
  • Evolving ischemic stroke (i.e., potential candidate for lytic therapy)
  • Status epilepticus