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NBC2 Investigators uncover first public safety gap left by MEDSTAR

posted Sep 21, 2012, 11:46 AM by We TheEmployees

FORT MYERS, FL -The NBC2 Investigators have uncovered the first direct evidence of a public safety gap left by the sudden suspension of Medstar – Lee County's medical helicopter program.  It happened overnight, after two teenagers were seriously injured in an accident at Corkscrew Road and US-41.  We're told Estero Fire arrived on scene three to four minutes after the crash, which investigators believe to be alcohol-related.  At that time, rescuers put Aeromed, the private air helicopter company Lee County is using for emergencies, on standby.  A few minutes later, when they realized how seriously the teens were trapped in the vehicle, Estero Fire called for launch of the chopper.  Aeromed told them they were having mechanical issues, and had to restart the chopper. After a second attempt, Aeromed was taken out of service.  Then, Lee County Dispatch advised it would try Bayflight - the medical chopper out of St. Petersburg. But crews on the ground advised it would take them too long to respond.  Finally Collier County was called. It launched its Medflight chopper, but it was called off because pilots couldn't give an ETA to the scene.  At that point - roughly 29 minutes after the first chopper was called - Estero Fire Lee County EMS took the victims to the hospital by ambulance.  The Medstar program was suddenly shut down a month ago today, supposedly to retool the program for a higher certification of the service.  But the NBC2 Investigators were the first to uncover evidence of improper billing, and county commissioners say they were never told the service was being shuttered.  The NBC2 Investigators are working more angles of this story - count on us for the latest, live tonight on NBC2 News at 6:00.  Continue Reading

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