Sanford Gets New Helicopters

Date posted - February 14, 2012

Perhaps you’re familiar with this sound.

For a number of years, especially those of us who live in a community served by a Sanford Hospital — have come to know that sound as the sound of Trauma One — Sanford Health System’s Bell 222 helicopter. It usually means that someone at the local hospital needs to be transferred “stat” — as they say in the medical world — to Sanford Hospital and USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls.

Well, that sound won’t be going away entirely, but starting this month, we will also be hearing this:

That’s the sound of one of Sanford’s new Eurocopter EC-145 helicopters. In October, Sanford Health announced the purchase of three Eurocopters. One will be used in the Sioux Falls region and two in the Fargo region. The new Eurocopters are larger, making it easier to transport patients and equipment across the region.

Sanford officials say the new helicopters will improve occupant safety. They are also more convenient, as the patient can be loaded from the rear rather than from the side of the helicopter. Plus, the stretcher rolls out instead of having to transfer patients to another cot. Additionally, the helicopters have autopilot, reducing the workload for the pilot.

The helicopters can also fly in IFR conditions, and even in clouds. That means they can fly more often, in weather they wouldn’t have been able to fly in before.

Plus, the old helicopter will stay on at Sanford, and will be able to serve in a backup role, when the Eurocopter is being serviced. Sanford officials say that means they’ll be in service nearly 100% of the time.

Incidentally, many tri-state area hospitals have switched to Eurocopters, including Avera McKennan’s Careflight out of Sioux Falls and Mercy Hospital’s Mercy Air Care out of Sioux City, as well as Sanford’s Trauma One.

By Scott Van Aartsen News Director

Photo Caption: Top picture is new Eurocopter Sanford Helicopter, bottom is the old Bell helicopter. Photo courtesy Sanford Health

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