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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

New helicopter caters to young patients

Children’s Mercy shows off its state-of-the-art aircraft at LMH

Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics have added a new state of the art EV145 helicopter to its fleet. The new air medical transport is manufactured by American Eurocopter. It made a stop Friday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital as part of a tour of medical centers within a 150-mile helicopter transport region.

Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics have added a new state of the art EV145 helicopter to its fleet. The new air medical transport is manufactured by American Eurocopter. It made a stop Friday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital as part of a tour of medical centers within a 150-mile helicopter transport region.

September 19, 2009

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A state-of-the-art EV145 helicopter, to be used by Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics, makes a stop Friday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital as part of a tour of medical centers within a 150-mile helicopter transport region.

A state-of-the-art EV145 helicopter, to be used by Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics, makes a stop Friday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital as part of a tour of medical centers within a 150-mile helicopter transport region.

Scott May, education coordinator, conducts tours of the new aircraft Friday. The helicopter replaces an 11-year-old model later this month. It can more easily fly at night and in inclement weather, and its equipment is specially designed for children.

Scott May, education coordinator, conducts tours of the new aircraft Friday. The helicopter replaces an 11-year-old model later this month. It can more easily fly at night and in inclement weather, and its equipment is specially designed for children.

KC hospital displays new helicopter

Kansas City's Children's Mercy Hospital showed off its custom-built helicopter Friday. Enlarge video

Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics showcased its new state-of-the art helicopter on Friday at four area hospitals.

The aircraft, dark blue and neon green, decorated with cartoon characters and the words “Just for Kids,” was easy to spot as it landed at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine, on the first stop of its tour. It also landed at Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center and St. Francis Health Center in Topeka, and Ransom Memorial Hospital in Ottawa.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Children’s Mercy uses the helicopter to transport critically ill and injured children within a 170-mile radius of the hospital. Children’s Mercy provides pediatric care for children from birth through age 18 and is one of the largest pediatric medical centers in the country.

“The nice thing about this aircraft is that we were able to design this aircraft from scratch, so the special equipment that we carry for kids will actually secure in the aircraft much easier with this one,” said Scott May, respiratory therapist and education coordinator.

The American Eurocopter cost $6 million and on Sept. 25 will replace the helicopter that Children’s Mercy has been using since 1987. When fully equipped, the helicopter is worth about $12 million.

The helicopter is the first of its kind in the region and has advanced safety features not yet required by the Federal Aviation Administration, including enhanced ground proximity and traffic warning systems. In addition, the air ambulance allows pilots to safely fly in more restricted weather and low light conditions.

“The major difference is the safety features,” May said. “We can use night vision goggles with this aircraft. It has a computer on board that tracks weather and other traffic within the area.”

The helicopter is equipped to handle children of all sizes — from a 1-pound infant to a 300-pound teenager. It also is capable of transferring two children at a time. That’s because it has more room than a typical life flight helicopter. It also is about 4 inches wider and 8 inches longer than the current helicopter.

“A few inches makes a big difference,” May said.

A flight usually includes a pilot, registered nurse, respiratory therapist, emergency medical technician and patient. If there are two children, it will include a pilot, respiratory therapist and registered nurse, May said.

Last year, Children’s Mercy transported about 100 patients from Topeka, nine from Lawrence and seven from Ottawa. May said during the slow time of year — spring and summer — it makes about 12 trips per day. During the fall and winter, it makes twice as many flights.

Pilot Mark Auer said the helicopter travels about 140 mph. Therefore, a trip from LMH to Children’s Mercy takes about 15 minutes. The helicopter only transfers patients to and from hospitals — not from the scene of an accident.

In addition to the helicopter, Children’s Mercy also has eight ground ambulances and a custom-equipped wing aircraft for longer transports. The hospital has one of the top three dedicated air medical transport programs in the country. Children’s Mercy transports nearly 5,000 patients from across the nation each year, in addition to numerous international transports.

Comments

Kawatchi 4 years, 7 months ago

There is something strange about having a flashy paint job and cartoons on a life saving aircraft that is only used in deadly situations.

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toe 4 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence Memorial excels at marketing and party fundraisers.

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nuby 4 years, 7 months ago

Insurance did cover a good portion of it.

I meant LMH's overall air transport of patients.

If there would have been a decent Dr. examining my son the entire trip probably would not have been necessary. $100,000 later my son is fine and a problem was never diagnosed. Better safe then sorry, I guess. He had to stay for 10 long days due to the meds he had been given at LMH. Not what you want for your newborn.

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remember_username 4 years, 7 months ago

I wonder if it makes that Ice Cream truck sound?

Seriously though I think its great, and anything that makes kids feel less afraid when they're sick is worth the paint job.

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Karrey Britt 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes. Children's Mercy said that they transported nine patients from Lawrence Memorial Hospital during the past year.

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GardenMomma 4 years, 7 months ago

Did you have to pay for the entire service or did insurance cover some? Did you have an option to go by ambulance? How many children does LMH "constantly" send by helicopter? The article states that only nine were transported from Lawrence (I assume that is LMH).

Glad you had a good flight nurse. Hope all is well with your son.

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nuby 4 years, 7 months ago

This a great service to our community since LMH is ill equipped to serve infants. My son was flown on the old helicopter when he was only day old. Flight nurses were amazing. This is a very expensive service though. It was $12,000. It's $36/ mile. That's a lot of money when LMH is constantly sending people by helicopter.

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BigPrune 4 years, 7 months ago

It's nice and all but I wonder who exactly got to look at the helicopter other than reporters, and what is the purpose of the PR campaign?

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