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Flightmed archive for November-2003

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ER Crash: Transport justification

On Sat, 22 Nov 2003, Susan Toberman wrote:

> Hi all,
> Since we are talking about it....
> I thought it was ironic that the "corporate big-wig" pt decided he needed to go to a "better place" on the "private helicopter" with his" own MD and RN."

This might start a tangential topic, so I changed the subject line to
reflect that. This has to do with the indications and justification for
the transport and whether or not it was a contributing factor in the crash.
Because this is an imaginary incident and the details weren't given on the
show, we'll have to make some guesses. These are all rhetorical

First of all, what kind of undue pressure was the pilot under to
complete the flight? We're there weather minimums that he was busting
because he knew or heard it was Mr. Bigwig? What about the flight crew -
were they distracted by Mr. Bigwig and not paying attention outside the
aircraft for wind changes, let alone for bystanders being too close on
takeoff? We're they distracted by another flight team's crew member
requesting to do the transport on their aircraft?

Second, how familiar with the helipad was the pilot and crew? Was this a
hospital where that particular team never lands due to an extremely
competitive environment? Was there a known obstacle or minimum performance
requirement on that pad so the hospital normally required twin-engine
helicopters (but just one more rule was bent because of Mr. Bigwig)?

Third, while not a proximate cause, was this transport even necessary to
begin with? This is one part that I wonder about being "too Hollywood"
or was it based on an actual situation somewhere that the show writers
found out about?

Was this particular scenario of Mr. Bigwig demanding an emergent
transfer from a Level I trauma center for convenience plausible? Would
any insurance pay for this transport or did the flight team just become Mr.
Bigwig's personal taxicab?  What about everyone jumping through hoops to
make it happen? I've seen BigWigs misuse corporate resources for personal
gain and seen people jumping through hoops to make it happen, so I can
imagine this scenario happening.

Again, these are all just rhetorical questions to make people think a little.

Rollie Parrish
FlightWeb: For Air Medical Professionals

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