Coast Guard Conducts Medical Evacuation From Hilo

February 20, 2019, 7:08 PM HST
* Updated February 20, 7:10 PM
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The Coast Guard conducted two joint medical evacuations in last two days throughout Main Hawaiian Islands.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew delivers a 35-year-old man suffering from sepsis in Hilo, Hawai‘i, Feb. 20, 2019. The aircrew worked jointly with the Hawai‘i Disaster Medical Assist Team to medevac the man quickly to a higher level of medical care. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Eric Ferree/Released)

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, the Coast Guard and Hawai‘i Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) personnel conducted a medical transport of a 35-year-old man from Hilo, while Tuesday a Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew responded to a medical emergency off Molokini Crater.

In the Hilo case, an Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew and Hawai‘i DMAT medical personnel transported the man from the Big Island to O‘ahu to meet awaiting emergency services.

“We have a great team and work well with DMAT to serve the people of Hawai‘i,” said Lt. Eric Ferree, Hercules pilot. “The crew did a great job turning the aircraft around quickly; it went smoothly especially in the dark at 5 a.m.”

At 12:24 a.m., Wednesday, Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu (JRCC) watchstanders received a request for assistance from the Hawai‘i Department of Health in transporting the man suffering from symptoms of sepsis to O‘ahu for medical treatment. JRCC conferred with the duty flight surgeon who recommended transport of the man as soon as possible.


According to Ferree, the search and rescue alarm went off at 3:45 a.m., the CG 1706 (Hercules) was configured and ready 30 minutes later. The DMAT team arrived on time at 4:30 a.m. As the crew was conducting engine runs before departing an issue with the #3 engine required a shift to the CG 1716. The team rapidly moved the medical pallet to the new plane, it was pre-flighted, and they were “off the deck at 6 a.m. on the dot”.


Upon landing in Hilo, the ambulance was waiting, and the patient boarded smoothly. DMAT personnel provided in-air medical care. Once the Hercules arrived at O‘ahu, the response teams transferred the patient to awaiting emergency services who then brought him to Straub Medical Center.

The Hawai‘i Healthcare Emergency Management’s Disaster Medical Team is a deployable, all-hazards disaster medical response and recovery team which is part of the medical surge capability within the HPP or Hospital Preparedness Program. All team members are volunteer professionals.

In the Maui case, the RB-M crew responded after Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a radio call from the master of the Maui Diamond II at 11:13 a.m. requesting medical assistance for a 76-year-old male diver. The diver was suffering from difficulty breathing after completing a second dive at Molokini Crater. The RB-M crew and Medic 15 personnel launched to assist.


Once on scene, the RB-M crew transferred a medic and EMT to the Maui Diamond II where they determined the man was in stable condition. Medical personnel continued to treat him aboard the Maui Diamond II while the vessel transited to Ma‘alaea Harbor with an RB-M escort. Upon arriving ashore, awaiting emergency services transferred the diver and took him to Maui Memorial Hospital.

The Coast Guard consistently works with emergency medical professionals throughout the islands to ensure access to an appropriate level of care as quickly as possible.

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