ROGERS, Ark. – While winding roads and steep inclines provide much of Northwest Arkansas' (NWA) beauty and allure, the landscape makes medical transport difficult. Thanks to Mercy and Air Methods Corporation’s partnership, area residents have a new emergency medical helicopter featuring the latest technology and safety advancements. Whether it’s a heart attack, stroke or serious automobile injury, the helicopter is minutes away with its home base at Mercy Hospital, I-540 in Rogers.
Named “Spirit of Mercy,” the EC130 helicopter – equipped with night vision goggles and available 24/7 – is an added asset in the medical community’s toolbox, especially in fighting the number one killer in Arkansas, heart disease.
For Dr. Larry Weathers, a Mercy cardiologist who has been serving Arkansas patients for 33 years, rapid medical transport is a godsend. "When you have a heart attack, you can't wait. Time is literally muscle. With heart disease touching the lives of so many in our community, we can make a real difference."
The helicopter has the ability to land in remote places or areas difficult to reach because of the terrain. Rod Pace, Mercy Medflight manager said, “Shaving off critical minutes by reaching patients quickly and connecting them to medical care can completely change a patient’s outcome. We can save lives.”
With the ever-growing population of children and students in the northwest Arkansas corridor, the helicopter means extra resources and assurance to parents and leaders.
"This will bring peace of mind," said Scott Street, president of Mercy Northwest Arkansas. "As a dad of four, I know a parent's worst nightmare is to think of something tragic happening to your child. Having the helicopter here and ready for quick transport to the nearest children's hospital is an assurance we want parents and caregivers to feel when they see the “Spirit of Mercy."
Mercy chose Air Methods because of its safety record and continued investment in high-tech safety systems, to the tune of $100 million in the past six years. In addition, Air Methods is soon to graduate from the Federal Aviation Administration’s voluntary Level 3 Safety Management Program. Besides having more room for critical care personnel to provide onboard patient care, the helicopter also operates more safely with an increased helicopter blade height from the ground, as well as a safety enclosure for the tail rotor.
Through Omni Advantage, residents may purchase a $49 annual membership for the Medflight service. For more information, visit OmniAdvantageMember.com or call (855) 877-2518.
Mercy Northwest Arkansas includes a 200-bed Mercy Hospital in Rogers, an Ambulatory Surgery Center in Bentonville and 30 Mercy Clinic locations including Bella Vista, Bentonville, Centerton, Lowell, Rogers and Noel, Mo. Mercy employs 1,600 co-workers and more than 130 integrated providers across Northwest Arkansas. Mercy Northwest Arkansas is part of Mercy, the sixth largest Catholic health care organization in the U.S., which includes 32 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,900 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.