Lewiston Strong – Remembering October 25, 2023

First published as the October feature story in LifeFlight of Maine’s 2024 calendar.

As we approach the anniversary of the horrific shooting in Lewiston, we remember the 18 members of our community who lost their lives. We continue to hold their families in our thoughts. We also honor the 11 LifeFlight medical crew members and four Boston MedFlight clinicians who responded to treat victims that night, as well as our colleagues at Central Maine Medical Center, local EMS, and law enforcement, alongside whom we are proud to work every day.

Delivering Lifesaving Care to Your Community

At LifeFlight of Maine, we transport about 2,500 people a year, or an average of one person every 3.5 hours. But we are more than just helicopters.

When the terrible events unfolded in Lewiston in October 2023, LifeFlight mobilized five aircraft, 11 highly skilled clinicians, and obtained cases of blood products within minutes. We coordinated additional aircraft and clinical support with our colleagues in neighboring states.

Our team went straight into the emergency department at Central Maine Medical Center, while our aircraft stood ready nearby.

A LifeFlight helicopter stands ready on the helipad at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.
A LifeFlight helicopter stands ready on the helipad at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

LifeFlight is prepared to respond to mass casualty incidents across Maine both by transporting patients to the care they need, and also by augmenting local resources and capacity on the ground. We can fly clinicians, blood products, and other vital medical equipment and supplies anywhere in the state with the speed of aircraft.

One critically ill or injured patient can consume all available resources in a community hospital’s emergency department. LifeFlight is able to augment medical teams on the ground, which creates additional capacity to care for other patients in these hospitals. Over the past several years, we have developed our “stat launch program” to assist with staff capacity in smaller hospitals. LifeFlight will deploy an aircraft and clinical team to the sending facility to assist with caring for the patient, even before a receiving facility is confirmed. This allows our staff to assist in stabilizing the patient and support our hospital colleagues until the moment that a receiving facility accepts the patient and they are cleared for transport.

At LifeFlight, we are proud to be one link in the “chain of survival” for Maine’s most critically ill and injured. We work tirelessly to support our partners across the state who take care of our fellow Mainers every day and night of the year.