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July 23, 2009 - 8:26am

UMMC heli-pad to become new parking lot

posted by Howard B. Owens in United Memorial Medical Center, Mercy Flight.

By the end of the summer, city residents will no longer hear the wap-wap-wap of Mercy Flight helicopter blades flying in and out of UMMC, the hospital's spokeswoman Colleen Flynn told WBTA.

Flynn said the heli-pad at the hospital will provide new parking spaces.

She said patients requiring air transport from UMMC to Buffalo or Rochester would first be taken via ground ambulance to the Mercy Flight facility at the Genesee County Airport.

Mai Knaym
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But, won't that just cause more delay for rescue?
Peter O'Brien
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I am no expert but I would imagine that it would not. They are going to station an ambulance at UMMC. The trip to the airport is very short. During that trip the pilots can quickly go over the checklist for take off. If there is an impact I think it will be very minimal.
Mark Potwora
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I'm no expert either but to land at the airport and have to transfer from there to UMMC seems like you waste time,at least 10 minutes or so..What if there is a traffic tie up ..You either have to go by the Sr.High, hope its not when school is getting out at 3.Or down Bank pass College drive. Both of these areas become congested at certian times of day..
Peter O'Brien
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I think you got your traffic flow direction wrong Mark. People would be leaving the hospital to get to the airport. Traffic congestion should be handled pretty easily with the siren and lights. I think it is safer in the air too to have the chopper take off at the airport.
Bea McManis
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If the chopper is dispatched to an accident scene, then it is going to the airport first, and then the hospital. In that case, they are taking the routes described by Mark. As it stands now, the choppers go directly from the accident scene to the hospital.
Lori Ann Santini
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Mr Potwora it is very clearly to streamline and make it as safe as possible for all involved. Any time a helicopter has to fly over a residential area there is a inherent danger to the area including the homeowners, pilot/crew and the hospital. If the helicopter is taking off from the airport with the patient then it will be safer. There are times that we already take the patient directly to the airport to speed up the process. The helicopter only needs to warm up once when the patient is loaded into it not twice when it leaves the airport and then again at the hospital. Yes it will speed it up and reduce cost. Think about the cost of the fuel the helicopter uses vs. diesel in the ambulance. As for the concern of getting the patient to the helicopter at the airport in timely fashion with concern for traffic delay I wouldn't worry. Ambulances still come with lights and sirens when ordered. I support the idea 100 percent not that my opinion makes much of a difference.
Peter O'Brien
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Do they go directly to UMMC though? I am under the impression they go directly to Strong, General, or Erie County MC.
Robert Hunt
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Mark, My experience with Mercy flight is that if a person is in bad enough shape to be air lifted they will be taken directly to a trauma center (ECMC or Strong) not UMMC in Batavia. I agree with Peter there probably would be no delay in fact it might be faster because the patient would be enroute to the airport while the pilot is doing his pre-flight checks.
Bea McManis
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You may be right. The first time, I thought they brought Bob right to Rochester and bypassed UMMC. The second time, I think they picked him up by ambulance and then took him to Rochester via chopper. For some reason I keep thinking they picked him up with the chopper and then took him to UMMC first. I'd have to look up the insurance papers.
Lori Ann Santini
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Mr OBrien, the helicopter does not transport to UMMC generally. If they have to be utilized it is because the need a higher level of care then UMMC can provide. There is generally the need for trauma surgeons, Catheterization for Heart Attacks, Neurosurgeons for Strokes, Neonatal care at WCHOB or Strong, etc. None of these services are available 24/7 at UMMC. This is not meant to ditract from UMMC. It is a fabulous local hospital. They just don't have the required staff to support the various higher levels of care that are needed by some patients.
Mark Potwora
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Thanks Lori for clearing that up..You do have the best insight into this..I just was wondering why weren't they then doing it that why in the first place if it was the best way to go..What has made them rethink this.. Flynn said the heli-pad at the hospital will provide new parking spaces. Makes it sound like they are only doing this to create more parking space...
Howard B. Owens
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Mark, I didn't take it that way ... I took it as, "here's an added benefit." If that impression was left by how I rewrote it from WBTA, that wasn't my intention.
Bruce Ross
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As a volunteer firefighter in Genesee county everyone that said that if the person is more less bad enough to need mercy flight they do not transport to UMMC they go to strong, ECMC etc. as far as saving time or taking longer i really cant answer weather this will or will not speed things up or take longer to me it dont seem like a practical idea to save time it seems like it would take longer would it save on cost to mercy flight yes but what if there is no ambulance available immediately then what? will we have the patient waiting around for an ambulance? with other as they call them interhospital transports they are typically done "around other emergency calls" and done with no lights no sirens and on some days there is a list of waiting patients to be transported will these critical patients be put on that same list? probably not but there still is a pretty good chance they could be delayed for some time at "peak hours". The hospital already uses this space at the helipad for parking spaces and always has for an "employee parking lot" the employees park there and drop there keys off to hospital maintenance in case they need to use the pad and maintenance would then go move the vehicles out of the way. do they even need the increased parking space for a 10 bed emergency room? so as for cutting operating cost yes, as for patient good no, as for gaining parking spaces at the hospital no... just my view of things from a "professional" in the field point of view I just hope this isn't a start to Mercy Flight cutting corners and leaving patents life in jeopardy.
John Roach
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Ross, When was the last time there were no ambulances to take somebody to the airport and the helicopter had to come to UMMC?
Bruce Ross
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Roach, When has someone ever been transported to the airport never so how would you know anytime some one needs to be transfered to another hospital with mercy flight they always come to the hospital to pick them up. all the time patients are waiting for ambulance to be transported by ground to another hospital or back to there nursing home or from the nursing home to the hospital.
Peter O'Brien
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Those don't sound like emergency cases though where the patients are waiting.
Bruce Ross
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your right there not but these transports dont get taken care of immediately because all the ambulance are out on "emergency calls" that are called in to 911. 911 calls get priority over anything in fact some nursing homes in batavia instead of doing just a normal transport to the hospital will call 911 for any patient that needs to go to the hospital for any reason because 911 calls get priority over anything. So if all ambulances are already tied up on 911 calls thru out the county or even in the middle of a transport say ones in rochester ones in buffalo and another is out on a call then what no ambulance available. all i am trying to do is point out a potential issue that could be a serious issue in the near future with this plan.
Peter O'Brien
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Sounds like abuse of the 911 system is taking up the ambulance's time.
bud prevost
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Sounds like abuse of the 911 system is taking up the ambulance's time. Those nursing home folks must have taken a page out of the "undocumented alien" book. Why see a doctor when I can clog up the ER with my un-insured and illegal ass.
Bea McManis
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Posted by bud prevost on July 24, 2009 - 8:46am Sounds like abuse of the 911 system is taking up the ambulance's time. Those nursing home folks must have taken a page out of the "undocumented alien" book. Why see a doctor when I can clog up the ER with my un-insured and illegal ass. I agree that there is a valid issue about non emergency use of our local ambulance service. There is another side of the coin that may make it sound as if non essential calls are made. Whether a fall occurs in a private residence, a public area or, as in my case, a senior community - when someone falls the instructions are to call 911. When listening to this, on the scanner, it may seem to be a frivilous call. There is a risk of futher injury if an untrained person attempts to move the one who is down. There is a risk of injury to someone attempting to lift or assist in getting the person up. In a greying community, these types of calls are more frequent. Using 911 to transport patients for routine procedures may be the easiest way to insure prompt service, but it is an abuse.
Bruce Ross
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yep you got it but the dispatcher dispatches the ambulance to cover his butt from getting sued and the ambulance responds to cover there butt from getting sued so you have a situation that no one will correct cause they dont wanna be held liable. Go figure
Peter O'Brien
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They should just dispatch a cop too next time.
Lori Ann Santini
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With all due respect and years of experience in this field I will weigh in on this topic again. Falls aren't necessarily simple especially in the "greying" population that Ms. McManis refers to. Due to many different conditions, a patient could be on any number of blood thinners. These medications can cause serious even life threatening internal bleeds depending on how the patient fell and what they hit on the way down. Often fractures can occur that are shrugged off as a normal ache or pain. It is the EMS professions job to evaluate and determine the next course of action. The system is overburden. You have my agreement there. What the fix would be is up for long debate. I don't even want to venture any guesses. LOL. I cannot speak for Mercy Flights' plans for transporting patients to the helicopter. I can however speak for past practice. I personally Mr. Ross have transported patients directly to the airport during a 911 call. The origin of the call made it more feasible to transport directly there vs. the landing pad at UMMC. It expedited the trauma care the patient required. Of course these are determined on a case by case basis. No system will EVER be perfect. We have to work and then rework what we have. As they say, Rome was not built in a day.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Lori Ann Santini on July 24, 2009 - 10:04am With all due respect and years of experience in this field I will weigh in on this topic again. Falls aren't necessarily simple especially in the "greying" population that Ms. McManis refers to. Due to many different conditions, a patient could be on any number of blood thinners. These medications can cause serious even life threatening internal bleeds depending on how the patient fell and what they hit on the way down. Often fractures can occur that are shrugged off as a normal ache or pain. It is the EMS professions job to evaluate and determine the next course of action. Thanks, Lori
Lori Ann Santini
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You are very welcome.
John Woodworth JR
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We all have to remember time is against us. Minutes and seconds are extremely valuable in extreme medical care. You can look at this from different ways. If someone is in need of medical attention at UMMC, they still have to contact Mercy Flight. Who still have to prep the heli and may even have to remove it from the hangar. So, does the time from the hospital to the airport exceed the amount of time and distance than having the chopper to the airport?
John Roach
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Don't you think that Mercy Flight and UMMC have gone over all of this already?

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