Researchers in Germany Find 25% Reduction in Mortality Risk Using Helicopter EMS

Researchers in Germany Find 25% Reduction in Mortality Risk Using Helicopter EMS

July 9, 2013

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Colleagues in Germany have performed excellent and important research on care for injured people with helicopter based EMS.

See the attached paper in Critical Care Journal — Line 343 -34:

“According to our results helicopter transport was associated with a significantly reduced mortality risk of 25%.”


Their findings support previous work that led us to estimate similar reductions in mortality of crash victims was possible.


By the year 2000, we estimated that about a 20% reduction in mortality of crash victims with ACN, URGENCY software, and air medical rescue was possible. See Report Section 6.4 that was published by NHTSA — available at under ACN Evaluation.


“An ACN system should reduce the length of time between traumas and needed restorative medical care. Extrapolating from the findings of air transport fatality reduction studies (References 30 and 31), the ACN system could offer an approximate 20% reduction in fatalities from motor vehicle collisions. This estimate assumes that adequate medical facilities would be available. Unfortunately, no studies have been found to assess the time dependence of injury severity caused by motor vehicle trauma. Thus, any estimate of the affect of ACN on reducing injury severity would be little more than a guess. This area requires further study. However, an NHTSA-sponsored multidisciplinary research team has produced a computer program (References 2, 4, and 5) which attempts to produce an easily understood probability of serious injury estimate making use of data which would be available from an ACN system.”


In the 1990s I was privileged to work with Prof. Guenter Lob (Munich). Dr, Lob helped us develop the Atlas and Database of Air Medical Services (ADAMS) for the U.S.


The ADAMS 10th Edition Atlas with national and state maps showing air medical coverage in each state is now available on the Public Access portion at


Papers on URGENCY software, ACN, and ADAMS are available at under URGENCY.

Imagine if we had our EMS helicopters being dispatched more intelligently using ACN, URGENCY software, and ADAMS GIS locations of helicopter and hospital resources relative to the crash site.


Since 1997, when we developed version 1 of URGENCY software at NHTSA, nearly 600,000 Americans have died of crash injuries. How many more must die before enough political will is developed to get NHTSA to adopt goals to provide Americans with timely, optimal emergency medical care using helicopters, ACN, and URGENCY software?


See petition to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland at under Blog dated May 18, 2012.

In the meantime, we need to sincerely thank our colleagues in Germany for their fine work that hopefully will bring us closer to saving more lives using these technologies sooner — in time to save more lives.


Click here to download attached document.



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