Thomas Judge

Photo by Tara Rice

Thomas Judge, Executive Director of LifeFlight of Maine

By Rachel Hurn

Thomas Judge, executive director of LifeFlight of Maine, says his proudest accomplishment from the past year has been the work of his team, which has been on the front lines responding to vulnerable patients every hour with grace, compassion, and skill. LifeFlight was founded in 1998 to provide transport for gravely ill and injured patients from every community and hospital in Maine. In the past 12 months, that has meant 2,400 patients from every corner of the state have been given a second chance at life. As the scientific understanding of COVID-19 has continued to evolve, LifeFlight has had to rewrite its airway management and ventilation guidelines nine times since March 2020. Despite the demands of the pandemic, the organization has continued to grow, with additional staff as well as new aircraft and medical technologies. They are at work with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop precise performance-based navigation flight routes, in which air traffic controllers use satellites rather than ground radars to follow and instruct aircraft. They’re also adding to the fleet with “next-gen” helicopters, building new medical simulation labs, and introducing new high-tech medical equipment like new ventilators and neonatal transport systems. “Medicine is constantly changing, and we work hard to be at the cutting edge of new care modalities for patients,” says Judge. “We bring an intensive care unit to the patient’s side to continue the work our EMS and hospital partners have initiated on behalf of critically ill and injured patients needing care far away.”

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