With an investment of $12 million, Mercy Springfield Communities is bringing faster, safer health care to those who need it in an emergency. Life Line is now operating three new EC135 P2+ helicopters with upgraded technology which will allow pilots to fly in weather conditions they previously could not have faced. Father Alexander Inke, a priest chaplain with Mercy Pastoral Services, blessed the aircraft today during a brief ceremony. They are now ready to serve the Ozarks.
“These new helicopters mean we’ll now be able to fly when there’s reduced visibility and low clouds,” said DJ Satterfield, director of Mercy Life Line Air Medical Service. “We’ll be able to operate under the FAA’s Instrument Flight Rules, just like commercial airlines—allowing the technology to help guide us.”
It all adds up to getting help to critically-ill patients quickly. The advanced on-board technology, including global positioning system (GPS), weather radar, auto pilot and a terrain awareness warning system also means a higher level of safety for those patients and the flight crew as they make their way to the hospital.
“The care patients receive inside the new helicopters will continue to be top-notch,” noted Satterfield. “Mercy’s Life Line medical staff members continually train in the hospital for what they might encounter in the field. They start the care immediately and it continues seamlessly once they arrive at the hospital.” The aircraft also contain the latest in medical transport equipment.
The helicopters are strategically placed around the Ozarks, with one each in Branson West, Bolivar and St. Robert. “We place them in outlying areas where the speed of a helicopter transport is needed most often,” explained Satterfield. “Any amount of time we can shave off the flight to get to the patient means the care can begin that much sooner.”