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Updated 11:50 AM October 25, 2007




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U-M Survival Flight wins national critical care competition

As part of the U-M Health System's Survival Flight team, flight nurses Michael Chesney and David Roberts are experts at providing emergency medical care in the air and on the ground to some of the most critically ill and injured patients.
U-M flight nurses David Roberts, left, and Michael Chesney use patient simulator technology during a critical care competition at the sixth annual Air Medical Transport Conference in Tampa, Fla. The duo won the event. (Photo courtesy Survival Flight)

What they may be less accustomed to, however, is caring for severely injured patients in front of an audience of hundreds of medical peers and video cameras, while going head-to-head in competition with other air rescue teams from across North America.

But at the sixth annual Air Medical Transport Conference hosted by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) in Tampa, Fla., Chesney and Roberts had the opportunity to showcase their medical expertise in life-and-death situations using patient simulator technology. Their poise and skill earned them the top honor for the event's Medical Education Technologies Inc.-sponsored critical care competition and the METI trophy.

For winning the competition, the duo also received a cash prize along with trips to Tampa for the 2008 METI simulator conference and Prague, Czech Republic, for an international air rescue competition.

"We are so proud of Mike and Dave. They, along with the rest of our Survival Flight team, do extraordinary work each day and are truly deserving of this honor," says Denise Landis, manager for critical care transport at UMHS. "This is yet another shining example of nursing excellence at U-M."

At the conference, Landis received the 2007 Association of Air Medical Service President's Award at the conference for her work to establish the Medical Transport Leadership Institute, as well as her overall support of AAMS.

The critical care competition, in which eight teams competed, included a preliminary round that simulated two life-saving scenarios: the first involving a child drowning victim, and the second a patient with complex medical issues suffering from a drug overdose.

Only two teams advanced to the final round. For this part of the competition, the teams had to provide timely care to an agitated gunshot wound victim who was a drug smuggler, while dealing with police officers and bystanders, played by actors, at the scene. The teams were scored based on the timeliness and accuracy of the medical care that was delivered, the skill with which procedures were performed, and how well they worked together as a team.

"Our team excelled during this competition," says Dr. Mark Lowell, medical director of Survival Flight. "We've always placed an emphasis on the degree and diversity of the training Survival Flight nurses undergo. Being recognized as the best among crews from across North America illustrates that our crews are among the most skilled air medical staff in the country."

Chesney has been a Survival Flight team member since 2001 and Roberts joined the team in 1999.

In addition to the METI cup, Survival Flight nurse specialist Paul Mazurek was presented with the Association of Air Medical Services 2007 Crew Member of the Year award. Mazurek — who has worked with Survival Flight since 2003 — was selected in June to receive this honor for his on going commitment to excellent in patient care, his expert clinical skills and education initiatives within critical care, and his leadership and teamwork at UMHS.

To learn more about Survival Flight, the UMHS air medical transport service, go to For more information on METI, the METI Cup and the HPSN conference, go to

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