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Wed, May 21, 2003

New Eurocopter In Service in Oklahoma

Custom EC-130 Just What Doctor Ordered

Medi Flight of Oklahoma received the first of two new custom designed EC 130 B4 helicopters, which the company says is, "the first helicopter in the world to be used for hospital/air ambulance service," around 7 p.m. Monday. (Oklahoma University Medical Center owns and operates Medi Flight of Oklahoma.)

The EC 130 B4, which was flown in from Provo (UT), landed at OU Medical Center's Everett Tower helipad near the hospital's trauma center. There are only a handful of the newly designed helicopters in use today, "but none," the company says, "until today, are used for medical transport." The second EC 130 B4 should be delivered around the first of June.

The EC 130 B4 helicopters are 25 percent faster than the Bell 206 Long Rangers that Medi Flight has been using for about 12 years. In addition, because the new helicopters have a much longer range, Medi Flight will be able to serve the entire state of Oklahoma from its centrally-located home base at OU Medical Center, enhancing the ability to serve the rural areas of the state. Because of the increased range and increased speed, any person involved in a severe trauma could be transported to OU Medical Center, the state's only American College of Surgeon's Level 1 rated Trauma Center (as of last summer). It is well-known that the best chance of survival for an individual considered a level one trauma, is to be treated at a trauma center.

In addition, the new helicopters' increased size will also allow OU Medical Center more flexibility when transferring newborn infants, who are transferred in large isolette beds, to The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center, which is the state's only free-standing pediatric facility.

Since beginning operations in 1980, Medi Flight, which operates both helicopter and ground ambulance services, has flown over 3.5 million miles and cared for more than 30,000 patients of all ages. On average, Medi Flight performs about 1,200 flights per year.



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