Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Nantucket Cottage Hospital take emergency training to new heights

August 28, 2023

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Nantucket Cottage Hospital take emergency training to new heights

Crews from Boston MedFlight and the United States Coast Guard visited Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Wednesday, August 23 to provide critical care training for staff from MVH and Nantucket Cottage Hospital.

Mike Spiro, staff nurse in the Emergency Department at MVH, said the training came about because both islands utilize nurses and medics to fly patients with the Coast Guard in bad weather when MedFlight is unable to fly.



“We wanted to create a safety course for patient transport that addressed critical issues when flying a patient to tertiary care,” said Spiro.

The first half of the day was highlighted by a workshop in the hospital’s Community Room followed by hands-on training at Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

Spiro said the training is important “so the transport nurse/medic are safe in the air and on the ground and they’re confident when bringing a patient off island.”

Nine nurses from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, six from Nantucket Cottage Hospital and one medic from Tisbury took part in the training, along with several Coast Guard rescue swimmers from Otis Joint Base Cape Cod, who joined the workshop at the hospital, and multiple flight crews that took part in the hands-on training at the airport.



“It started as a simple idea a year ago and then Jennifer Wheeler, flight medic for Boston MedFlight, got tasked with the project and was really the engine behind a lot of the moving parts to bring this to fruition,” said Spiro.

Jamie Eastman, flight medic, and Joe McGrath, critical care transport nurse, led the training workshop at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. McGrath said they would like to conduct similar training sessions every six months to retrain those already trained as well as new employees.

While the Coast Guard did provide a fair amount of air transports during the summer due to weather, the winter can be a bigger challenge, making this training session timely.

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