| Helipad Is A Bad Idea
Aug 09, 2008
Regarding your Local Motion article in the July 2008 edition, the SFGH proposed helipad would be a blight on the southeast quadrant of the city, without advancing SFGH's goal of serving the community.
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San Francisco is a city of 15,000 people per square mile. Takeoff and landing of helicopters in the midst of such an environment is an unacceptable danger to the community. FIVE medical helicopters crashed in the last few months month in the US.
1. A medical helicopter crashed into a hospital in Michigan, shutting down the only level-1 trauma center in the area,
2. A medical helicopter crashed soon after takeoff in Texas,
3. A medical helicopter crashed near Prescott, AZ, and
4&5. Two medical helicopters collide (48 hours after #3!) landing in Flagstaff, AZ.
Dr. Bryan Bledsoe, an emergency medicine physician who teaches at the University of Nevada and has researched accident rates of medical helicopters, said the flights benefit only a small subset of patients, such as those needing a cardiac stent or balloon within a 90-minute window. But helicopters aren't necessary for transporting most other patients and needlessly expose them to danger, Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe said 2 out of 3 patients transported by an EMS helicopter generally have minor injuries, and 1 in 4 is sent home without being admitted to the hospital. The standards for the severity of injuries for transporting people are too low, he said.
"It's an amazingly liberal criteria, and because the industry is driven by profit, there is little movement to change it," Bledsoe said.
-- Daniel Fineman, Potrero Hill
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