By Kate Merrill

BEDFORD (CBS) – The pandemic has not only changed our lives, but our jobs, and in March, Boston MedFlight suddenly found themselves on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus. Ever since, they have been helping both patients and local hospitals while also trying to stay healthy.

It is always busy in their command center in Bedford as calls for help come in constantly and dispatchers send out medical rescue helicopter flights and ambulances.

But since March, life here has changed a lot. Simple things are no longer easy here. The coronavirus has made the day-to-day, in an already stressful industry, that much harder.

“Now pretty much every mission that we go on we have to take a step back and think about how can we accomplish this safely,” critical care transport specialist Mark Saia told WBZ-TV.

“These calls are taking 3 and 4 times our usual calls because we had to don all the PPE and then we had to clean all the vehicles before our next call,” said Boston MedFlight CEO Maura Hughes.

Hughes said it’s not just a new workflow, it’s also about balance. Boston MedFlight is now key in keeping the entire system from being overwhelmed.

“We were moving patients throughout the system into Boston and out of Boston to make sure that one ICU wasn’t overloaded and we were moving other patients out,” she told WBZ.

So far they have transported 800 Covid patients by ground and by air.

“We have never had any of our staff actually test positive for the virus, which is absolutely phenomenal when you think about the number of patients that we’re taking care of,” Hughes said.

A risky job every time, but being on the front lines of the pandemic and helping the hospitals to survive drives them to keep moving.

“There are so few people that do what Boston Med Flight does it was really important for us to stay healthy and stay in service.”

Boston MedFlight is a non-profit, which means they depend on donations and right now all of their fundraisers have been canceled.

They transport patients regardless of their ability to pay. Last year, they provided $4 million in free care.

If you want to learn more go to their website and see how you can help.

Kate Merrill

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