It will still be a few weeks before Manitoba’s helicopter ambulance service resumes flying critical patients from rural hospitals to Winnipeg.
The Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society will have to meet recommended standards drafted by Brian Postl, who heads up a clinical oversight committee reviewing the air service, before flying restrictions are lifted.
Last December, STARS was temporarily suspended from flying medical flights after a woman died following an inter-hospital flight in late November. It was the third serious case in a year involving the Alberta-based helicopter air ambulance service.
Then in March, the air ambulance service was allowed to fly again in Manitoba, but only in response to emergency scene calls.
This is an expensive 10-year service agreement the provincial NDP has bungled Manitoba into — the government did not comply with public tendering principles and policies — but having the service partially grounded does little good for critical patients in rural hospitals.
We hope Mr. Postl hands his recommendations to the province promptly — and that the province and medical personnel act upon them quickly — so Westman can benefit from the STARS service again, sooner rather than later.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 17, 2014