Madison, Wisconsin – UW Health Med Flight plans to establish a satellite medical-helicopter base in southwestern Wisconsin, a move that will improve response times for medical emergencies in the area.
A second base will be set up at the Iowa County Airport near Mineral Point this spring. Med Flight’s primary base remains at University Hospital.
“Response times to southwestern Wisconsin will be cut by approximately 20 minutes with the new base near Mineral Point,” said Frank Erdman, manager of critical-care transport. “Having a helicopter based in southwestern Wisconsin will not only improve response times but will provide faster physician and nurse access to patients with life-threatening trauma and medical conditions.”
Med Flight provides a physician on every flight, an arrangement which is not typical for medical-helicopter services.
“Physicians are available 100 percent of the time when Med Flight is in the air,” said Dr. Ryan Wubben, Med Flight medical director.
The closest paramedics to Mineral Point are based in Dubuque, Iowa, Fitchburg and Prairie du Sac, 45 to 55 miles away.
“There are many basic emergency medical technicians and volunteer first responders who provide crucial, life-saving services in southwestern Wisconsin,” said Wubben. “They are trained in essential medical services and request our services when complex care is needed.”
The aircraft is a twin-engine EC-135 model capable of flying 155 miles per hour. Med Flight’s aircraft has state-of-the-art navigational and safety equipment, including automatic terrain-avoidance systems, night-vision-goggle technology and instrument-flight rules (IFR) capability to enhance visual flying.
The Iowa County Airport facility is a 2,000-square-foot space inside a leased hangar. The facility provides 24-hour office space, storage for medical supplies and helicopter support equipment.
Med Flight, which is celebrating its 31st year, has a service radius of 250 miles in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota, and makes more than 1,000 flights each year. It transports patients to all three Madison hospitals.