The Tennessee Ambulance Service Association recognized Donald Barker, MD, Robert Berger, flight paramedic and Mark Eidson, flight nurse for extraordinary service in their fields during the 2020 state conference held in Gatlinburg yesterday.
"Donald Barker, MD, received Medical Director of the Year. For 28 years, LIFE FORCE Air Medical has been under the medical direction of Dr. Barker," officials said. "His support and direction has enhanced LIFE FORCE with advanced procedures, state-of-the art on-board medical equipment, aggressive protocols and ongoing critical care training. All have allowed LIFE FORCE to bring advanced critical care to the patient which has led to many state and industry firsts."
LIFE FORCE 2 team member and flight paramedic, Robert Berger, received Paramedic of the Year Award.
In June of 1995, he joined LIFE FORCE as a staff flight paramedic on the newly created base in Sparta, Tn. He assisted in driving the NICU transport team until LIFE FORCE 2 moved into their new base at the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport in 1996. From 1995-2008, he has served in various capacities for several Upper Cumberland Emergency Services, to include part-time paramedic for Putnam County EMS, volunteer firefighter for Putnam County Fire Department, and volunteer firefighter for North End Fire Department. Since 2009, Mr. Berger continues to chair the LIFE FORCE Safety Committee. He is responsible for overseeing the safety program that includes a safety officer at each base and a safety committee. He is also engaged in keeping the staff informed about safety practices and any distribution of safety related items.
LIFE FORCE 2 team member and flight nurse, Mark Eidson, received the EMS Advocate Award. Mr. Eidson began his career with LIFE FORCE five years ago. Two years ago, he accepted a position as clinical base educator at the LIFE FORCE 2 base in Sparta. In his current role, he is responsible for full-time flight status as a flight nurse in addition to responsibilities of coordinating outreach education for ten counties in Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland Region, preceptor for onboarding crews and quality assurance and quality improvement of LIFE FORCE 2 flights.
“I am extremely proud of these three individuals and their contributions to our program and health system,” said Robbie Tester, senior director for LIFE FORCE, EROC, and Emergency Management at Erlanger. “Since 1988, LIFE FORCE has been on the cutting edge of critical transport medicine. Without the medical leadership of Dr. Barker and flight crew members like Robert and Mark, we would not be where we are today. These men set the standards for others to follow, and I congratulate them.”
Erlanger Health System’s air medical program, LIFE FORCE, has six helicopter bases: Winchester, Tn.., Sparta, Cleveland, Andrews, N.C., Blue Ridge, Ga. and Calhoun, Ga. The crew is comprised of a pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic at each base who provides on-the-scene and in-flight critical care treatment such as trauma service, heart and stroke intervention, cutting edge pediatric care and high risk labor and delivery services to the patients in the helicopters. The support team for the program also consists of communication specialists, aviation and maintenance technicians and an educational, outreach and leadership team.