One of Sara's responsibilities as a National Guard physician is to train the Guard's medics to be prepared for any situation. Today her team is training on how to load and unload patients onto a UH-60 Black Hawk.
Black Hawk helicopter on landing pad.

​BURDASH:  We’re going to do some drills with our medics with helicopter loading and offloading. We have physicians that help lead classes; we have PAs that help lead classes. We actually rotate a little bit who gets to teach the classes, and then it lets everybody use their expertise. 

This is so important, especially for us as our role in an area support medical company, because we may be in a position to both be sending and receiving patients. Our role is a little bit versatile in that regard. And so, our team may very well be loading patients on helicopters. Maybe taking them off.  

We’re going to be practicing our hot loads. And so basically practicing loading with the helicopter blades going, just as if it would be in real life. So they’re moving now to the bird, to the helicopter. Moving as one.  Once they get instructions from either the crew chief or the medic who’s in the helicopter, they’ll be able to load the patient in. They’re just trying to slide the litter into a safe position so that the helicopter crew can safely take care of the patient. And then they’re all going to hold onto each other to make sure they can move as a unit away from the helicopter as a safe group, and they don’t lose anybody in the process.  

Helicopter crews are very good about giving us the sickest patient first. So they’ll usually bring the patient into our facility, where myself, a team of medics, will receive them, assess them, and get the sign out from the helicopter crew about what’s happened, what’s been done. What needs to be done, and take care of the patient from that standpoint. ​

Sara Burdash, M.D.
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11:00 AM
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Hoisting Patients onto a Black Hawk Helicopter

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