The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the recent medical helicopter crash that killed three crew members in Wisconsin. Although the cause of the crash is yet unknown, this and other accidents raise the question of how safe helicopter ambulances are. In the Associated Press article “Safety of Medical Helicopters Draws Scrutiny After Crash,” Dallas Managing Partner Ladd Sanger discussed what factors can result in a crash and why helicopter ambulances aren’t always the answer in a medical emergency.
One factor that can cause accidents is weather. Bad weather means that hospitals need to make several calls in search of a pilot willing to fly. Sanger noted that this results in pressure on providers and pilots to fly, because they want to be known as the go-to person and not the one that says ‘no.’
Although helicopters can be good alternatives for people that are seriously injured or very sick in remote areas to get to the hospital, Sanger explained that the vast majority of helicopter transports are not medically necessary. He said, “You would get to the hospital faster and way cheaper if you used a ground ambulance.”