Mercy to Christen New Helipad

May 1, 2012

EagleMed air medical transport services helicopter

lands for the first patient air transfer April 19

on Mercy Hospital’s newly constructed helipad.

The community is invited to attend a christening event for the new helipad now in operation at Mercy hospital on the former Lincoln School property.

The event is planned for Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, and will include a short blessing ceremony led by Father Drew Heiman of St. Andrew Catholic Church, a ribbon cutting and fly-in/landing by an EagleMed air medical transport helicopter. Those in attendance will have an opportunity to view the inside of the helicopter and learn more about medical flight transfers, and refreshments will be served after the ceremony in the round tower lobby of the hospital.

The helipad was completed earlier this month, and Mercy’s first patient transfer using the pad occurred on April 19 via an EagleMed air medical services helicopter. Based in Wichita, EagleMed currently serves seven states with a fleet of 24 aircraft, four ground ambulances and 24/7 capability for air transfers.

According to Patti Doncouse, RN, director of Mercy’s Emergency Department, approximately 60 patients are transferred each year via helicopter to tertiary facilities for advanced care in cases such as severe trauma, heart attack, spinal cord injuries, etc.

Prior to the construction of the helipad on the Mercy campus, the Independence Middle School field was used as the medical flight landing location. This arrangement necessitated the involvement of the Independence Emergency Medical Service to first transport the flight crew from the middle school to the hospital to ready the patient for transfer; then to also transport the patient from the hospital to the middle school to the awaiting helicopter.

“With the helipad available right here, we can save anywhere from 18 to 25 minutes in the transfer process,” Doncouse explained. “Think about that for a moment. If it’s you or your loved one suffering from a heart attack or with severe trauma, 18 minutes can seem like an eternity. When we have only a small window of time to help a patient in an emergency situation and ensure the best possible outcomes for him or her, this will have a huge impact.” 

The helipad christening event is free and open to the public, and giveaway items will be offered by both Mercy and EagleMed.

In the event of inclement weather or helicopter unavailability on May 12, the event will be rescheduled for Saturday, May 19, at the same time.

Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit