HOUSTON (AP) - The rate of crashes by medical helicopters is
rising, leading to more debate about whether the care flights are
worth the risk.
Last week, a medical helicopter crash near Huntsville killed the
patient and three crew members.
In February, three crew members died in a crash off South Padre
Hospitals and the helicopter operators say flying ambulances can
deliver patients to the emergency room faster than ground
ambulances, raising the chances for survival.
But other trauma-care specialists say studies show that regular
ambulances often get patients to the hospital just about as fast.
They say patients who go by ground have about the same chance of
surviving as those ferried by helicopter.
The rate of medical helicopter crashes per hour of flying has
been rising this decade, according to congressional researchers.
They say medical helicopters crash nearly twice as often as chopper
that transport businessmen and industrial workers.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)