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ShandsCair Celebrates 35 Years, Thousands Of Lives Saved

At UF Health Shands Hospital, doctors save lives not only in the hospital, but also in the air.

Between helicopters and ambulances, ShandsCair, the air medical and critical care transportation system for UF Health Shands, celebrated its 35th anniversary Thursday, marking more than 72,000 lives saved by the pilots and emergency medical technicians working in the program.

“A crew that gives hope where hope did not exist, that’s what they do all day long,” said Ed Jimenez, CEO of UF Health Shands, “It is fascinating; I am constantly in awe of what they do.”

Paramedic Heath Schmidt said it's all about putting the patient first, at all times.

"You have to remember the fact that its their worst day of their life, they dont know any different, if they dont work in the industry all they know is that I have been in a bad wreck and my life is coming to an end," Schmidt said.

Patient Kendall Lewis, or Miss K, made an appearance at the hospital's celebration Thursday, commenting on how "cool" she thought some of the critical care transport vehicles were.

"Whenever we come for appointments and you see one...you kept looking out the window for them every time you go upstairs, don't you," Kendall's mom, Mindy Lewis, said.


Victoria is a reporter for WUFT News who may be reached at 352-392-6397 or by emailing vtodd@ufl.edu.