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New pediatric helicopter serving Central Texas


A new helicopter designed specifically for children is now in service for Central Texas.

The pediatric transport made its first landing Thursday at McLane Children's Hospital. This is the first solely pediatric helicopter for the area.

Crews say the helicopter can help save lives by being able to cover a wider area to get to children in need. The air transport can also get kids in critical condition from hospital to hospital quicker.

The helicopter has a few differences from a normal one including specialized equipment.

"We also carry a specialized team which is really the main thing that separates this helicopter. Our nurses and respiratory therapists that fly on the helicopter are specially trained in pediatric and prenatal care. They don't take care of adult patients, they're strictly trained to do pd's and natals," director of trauma and transport Terry Valentino said.

The hospital already had a situation Thursday morning before the helicopter was in service when it was needed. They needed to transport a child from an outlying hospital to McLane Children's Hospital but the helicopter available would not work so they had to have a ground transport.

"The helicopter that we had available for us was a little bit smaller than this and there's a lot of weight restrictions on helicopters so we weren't able to bring that extra practitioner where this being a little bit bigger we would've been able to bring that practitioner and get out there a little bit quicker than having to go by ground to transport," Valentino said.

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