Your Healthy Family: The challenges of a flight paramedic

Posted at 11:28 AM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2019-01-10 11:29:56-05

COLORADO SPRINGS – One of the most challenging jobs a paramedic can have is working in the tight quarters of a medical helicopter.

Matt Bergland is a flight paramedic working on UCHealth’s LifeLine medical helicopter.  Matt has been a paramedic for 25 years, and has been flying for 11 of those.

He says, “Honestly I never really saw myself flying.  It’s not something that I really thought that I was good enough to do, and it was a challenge.”
Because of the nature of calls the LifeLine helicopter is sent on, working quickly on badly injured patients is just one part of the challenge.

Matt says, “We have really critical patients and we have procedures that have to be done immediately.  Many we do on scene and our goal is to be on scene for no more than 10 minutes, so we do a lot of stuff in the aircraft so you really do have to get used to working in a confined space.”

Being pressed for time and tight quarters aren’t Matt’s only challenges.

He says, “Once you get in that aircraft you no longer have your sense of hearing.  It’s hard to talk to the patient, I can’t listen to the stethoscope. I really do have to have the ability to be able to have that 6th sense and understand what’s going on.”

As challenging as the job is Matt says he also finds being a flight paramedic especially rewarding.  “I have been on over 560 patient flights. A lot of what we do is the worst of the worst so when things are really bad so we see a lot of tragedy.  There are also those calls that really do stand out, that I feel like I really did make a difference.”