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Doctors Question Use of Medevac Helicopter

October 23, 2008

Medevac helicopters are used unnecessarily in many occasions throughout the United States and changes are necessary to the emergency system, doctors say.

Doctors such as Dr. Marc R. Matthews of Phoenix and Dr. Jeffrey P. Salomone of Atlanta say they have each seen incidents in which the emergency medical transports have been used in situations where an ambulance would have sufficed, The Sun newspaper in Baltimore.

“I remember a patient, an 11-year-old boy, who flew in from a motor vehicle accident and was just standing there, and I asked him, ‘Are you hurt?’ and he looked at me and said, ‘No,’” said Matthews, who works at Phoenix’s Maricopa Medical Center.

Salomone said with 26 medevac crashessince 2003, the air transport system may pose too great a risk.

“I’m all for heroes — for the firefighters who climbed up the stairs while the World Trade Center was falling down or anyone else who risks their life to help people,” the Grady Memorial Hospital doctor told The Sun. “But it’s a real tragedy to think someone could die trying to help a patient who didn’t have a life-threatening injury to begin with.”




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