Med Flight Staff 'Healing'; No Patient Flights for a While


Bill Novak | | Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MADISON, Wis. -- Med Flight staff at UW Hospital will begin "confidence" flights later this week as they slowly recover from the shock of losing three of their team in a helicopter crash May 10.

UW Health spokesman Aaron Conklin said by e-mail that the Med Flight staff is undergoing "a healing and rebuilding process" and won't resume patient flights for a while.

Each flight includes three Med Flight members, a flight physician and flight nurse employed by UW Hospital and Clinics, and the pilot, employed by Air Methods, a helicopter leasing firm based in Denver.

The Med Flight program had two helicopters leased from Air Methods.

One of the two helicopters crashed near La Crosse the night of May 10, killing nurse Mark Coyne, Dr. Darren Bean and pilot Steve Lipperer.

Conklin said it will be "a little while" before the second helicopter is replaced, so Med Flight will use one helicopter when medical flights resume until a second helicopter is acquired.

Emergency medical flights in the Madison area are currently being handled by other area medical helicopter services from northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

A public memorial service for Coyne was set for Monday at 5 p.m. at Crossroads Church, 3815 S. Dutch Mill Road in Madison.

Memorial services for Bean and Lipperer were held May 15 at Monona Terrace.

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