Local flight paramedic Chad Wheet has been flying with Air Evac for the past three years and he recently received a ceremonial pin of “wings” for completing more than 100 emergency medical/transport flight runs with Air Evac.
“It’s hard to single out one memorable moment because you try to remember the good moments and put the bad behind you,” says Wheet. “In the emergency medical profession, you’re always there at someone’s worst moment but that’s what we train for so that we can help people.”
Wheet started working at the Adair County Ambulance Sercive in 2007 as an EMT. In 2011, Wheet attained his paramedic license and started flying in 2015 for Air Evac. He received his flight paramedic certification in 2016.
“It’s always a learning experience,” says Wheet. “You learn stuff from the people you work with and the medical field is always changing so you have to stay on top of new techniques to offer the best treatment for patients.”
As a flight paramedic, Wheet works alongside a flight nurse to provide pre-flight treatment as well as in-flight treatment. Wheet works at Air Evac flight bases in Campbellsville, Danville, Bowling Green, and on occasion he works in Harlan.
“When we receive the call, the pilot checks the weather for the route to the location and then if we are good to go, we perform the necessary startup duties,” says Wheet. “We lift off and head to the location and while we are in the air we receive patient information and the flight nurse and I discuss possible options and treatments to help the patient.”
Once Air Evac arrives on scene they treat the patient as needed before the flight and sometimes during the flight.
“We do all immediate necessary treatments on the ground and anything additional can be done in the helicopter but you don’t have a lot of room in there,” says Wheet.
With more than 100 flights under his belt, Wheet has treated a lot of people in the moments after a life changing accident or injury, but he hasn’t lost any of his patients during a flight so far.
“I’m just thankful for the support of my family, friends, and everyone that I have flown with over the past three years,” says Wheet. “All of my co-workers are so supportive and have helped me grow as a professional in so many ways.”
Wheet says he plans to continue as a flight paramedic until he is eligible for retirement.
“I plan on staying with it until I can’t do it anymore,” says Wheet. “It’s an honor to work with the people I get to work with and it’s an honor to help those in a time of need.”
By Adam Capps