Sunday, June 10, 2012

Medical Helicopter

By Uncle Hans

The blog editor won't allow blogs on politics or religion, but I test him by submitting a political piece every now and then. This one is about helicopters. This is a medical transport helicopter landing on one of my hospitals. This hospital is about 50 miles from the destination hospital. The time it takes to helicopter a patient those 50 miles is usually longer than the time it takes to go by ground ambulance. The exception is during morning rush hour.


This is because once the call goes out to the helicopter, they have several steps to go through. They have to notify and collect a crew. They have to do pre-flight check. They have to start and warm up the helicopter. They have to fly the 50 miles (about 15 min.). They have to load the patient, which takes a few minutes, as loading is more fussy with the helicopter than the ambulance. They have to fly back to their destination hospital (about 15 min.)

If the local doctor chose to simply load the patient into a ground ambulance, the crew is usually close by, often the same people and ambulance that just brought the pt TO the hospital, they could just drive to the destination hospital. About 50 minutes, unless they go "lights and siren".
The trip on the ground is often less time than the helicopter!

It is a crime, as the only advantage of the helicopter is supposedly " faster". When you think of a helicopter racing an ambulance, it is easy to think that the helicopter is faster. But unless the distance is 100 miles or more, the ground ambulance will usually win the race.

So? Big deal.
Well the patient is paying upwards of $20,000 for the helicopter ride vs about $5,000 for the ground ambulance.

But it is the "accepted standard of care" and if there is a bad outcome and you didn't follow the "accepted standard of care", you will lose the malpractice lawsuit.


So, whenever you see a medical helicopter flying over, you can see your insurance premium going up for no real reason. We are all being ripped off...........

By Uncle Hans


Rod Ivers said...

The only way to change these things is for Doctors to band together and change the accepted standard! We at the general public level are powerless, but you would think the insurance industry would identify this scam....