Climbing up onto my soapbox

I'm sure many of you remember the tragic Amish school shooting that happened around two years ago this month. This was something that chilled many to the bone and terrified others. Many of you also I'm sure have fresh in your memories the tragic crash of "Trooper 2" here in Maryland last month. Both tragedies hit close to home and both you will see are somewhat interconnected.

After the recent crash of our state medevac chopper, the Maryland State Police have come under close scrutiny by the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA. Suddenly, even after having 90,000 accident free flight hours under their belt, lawmakers want change. One lawmaker in particular who has a vested interest in a private medical helicopter company, Medstar.

Sen. John C. Astle would like nothing more than to see our renowned state run medevac system become privatized. What happens when privatization occurs you ask? If privatization were allowed to occur, Mr. Astle would be making beaucoup bucks with each flight completed by Medstar Health. This would also mean that the once free transportation service offered by the Maryland State Police helicopters from crash scene to hospital would now cost the patient or their insurance company money. Certain private medical helicopter companies would also be more likely to fly patients to their own facilities, i.e - Medstar medevacs would be more likely to fly to a Medstar health facility. Not such a bad thing you think? This is where the Amish school shooting connection comes in to play.

Back when the shooting occurred, several medical helicopters flew in to transport the critically wounded children to trauma centers. What many didn't know was that there were two instances where privatized medical helicopters failed those children. One little girl was loaded onto a Medstar chopper and FLEW OVER a close by pediatric trauma center in favor of a Medstar health center which was further away. To add to that, the chopper actually STOPPED FOR GAS along the way. Another little child bled to death on the way to a Medstar facility after flying over the same pediatric trauma center. Would that child have been saved if they had gone to the nearest pediatric trauma center? Who knows. But there is always a possibility. (Think of the Golden Hour theory which was pioneered by R Adams Cowley himself.)

I will let you pick your jaws up off of the floor.

My point here is that privatization isn't necessarily the way to go. With our state medevac choppers, the flight paramedics and pilots fly to the most reasonable facility whether it be the closest due to time or to our trauma center due to our expertise on head and spine injury. THEY DON'T CHOOSE WHAT IS BEST FOR THEMSELVES, THEY CHOOSE WHAT IS BEST FOR THE PATIENT. And that my friends is the difference.

Time to climb back down off of my soapbox. It is so sad when a system that is copied closely in other states due to its great efficacy is now being slammed and lambasted. Interesting though how it is lawmakers with a vested interest in a private helicopter company isn't it?

What are your thoughts?

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