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ATRMC gets a new helicopter landing pad

Emergency air transport no longer will have to land in the parking lot, speeding the time it takes to get patients into the Emergency Department.

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A medical response helicopter tested the new landing spot on opening day Thursday.

Getting people to and from the hospital for emergency care in Josephine County is now faster and easier with the opening of a new helicopter landing pad, also known as a helistop, at ATRMC. A helicopter made its first landing on the pad on Thursday.

“We’ve always been able to land a helicopter at the hospital in the parking lot,” said David Kinyon, vice president of Operations. “However, it has required a great deal of logistics from our employees to make sure the area is clear and secure to land the aircraft.”

Now, with a dedicated place to land just outside the back-entrance doors to the Emergency Department near where ambulances arrive, the process is more streamlined. “With the helistop’s proximity to the Emergency Department’s ambulance entrance, getting the person from the helicopter into the ED for treatment is streamlined and more efficient,” Kinyon said.

Both Mercy Flights and REACH provide air medical services to the hospital to transport people to the medical center for emergency care, or from the hospital to another medical facility. As the second busiest Level III trauma center in Oregon, ATRMC provides initial evaluation, stabilization and surgical intervention for severely injured adults and children.

“We see close to 600 trauma cases a year,” said Emergency Department Medical Director Chris David, MD. “For most traumas, time is critical to save a life. Having the helistop right outside our ED doors means we can start patient care faster.”

The 45-foot square landing pad took about six months to build at a cost of $500,000. A portion of the expense has been offset by donations from the community to Asante Foundation.

“Philanthropy plays a critical role in Asante’s ability to invest in our community, and to provide vital and lifesaving services,” said Andrea Reeder, the Foundation’s director of Campaign and Operations. “We are grateful for the community’s support of this project, which will help meet the demands of the growing population and provide Josephine County with the very best emergency care.”

The helipad is part of the expansion plan for emergency services at Asante Three Rivers. A year ago, the Emergency Department doubled in size with the completion of an expansion that added 11 beds for a total of 30. About 41,000 people visit the hospital’s Emergency Department each year.

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