UW Hospital staff struggles to deal with the loss of their colleagues.
Mark Hanson, Program Manager for the UW Hospital Med Flight program, says it was their decision to ground their second medical helicopter until they feel they are emotionally ready to take flight again. That chopper was voluntarily grounded after Saturday night's fatal crash in LaCrosse. Hanson says the staff is undergoing stress debriefing sessions and they'll return to flight when they're good and ready.
Hanson says, considering both choppers are out of service right now, they're using their backup system of networking with other hospitals to serve the community; The UW had averaged about three to four flights per day.
The UW medical helicopter went down after dropping off a patient in LaCrosse. There was no flight data recorder, or so-called black box. A surgeon, a nurse and the pilot were all killed.
The owner of that medical chopper said the craft did not have two safety features designed to prevent night-time crashes. Aaron Todd, Chief Executive Officer with Air Methods Corporation, says night vision goggles and terrain avoidance warning systems were in the process of being installed in their entire fleet of over 330 aircraft. About 39% have been retrofitted already. Todd says they believe the equipment can enhance the safety of each flight, however not having it did not compromise this helicopter's safety.
Toni Morrissey, UW Health spokesperson, says they've been getting well wishes from people in Iraq and all around the world. She says the UW is flooded with requests from people to donate money, so the hospital is temporarily setting up a fund through the UW Foundation and is working on putting together an appropriate recognition and memorial for the crew.