University Hospital Celebrates 30th Anniversary for Helicopter Service

Related Story

COLUMBIA - University Hospital celebrated 30 years of "Staff For Life" helicopter service on Wednesday by unveiling its newest addition to the helicopter fleet.

The new McDonnell Douglas MD902 helicopter will replace the old BK 117 helicopter when the helicopter teams have finished their training. 

The new helicopter is tiger-striped with a larger cabin space for more medical equipment. The helicopter is equipped with the latest medical equipment: in-flight cardiac monitor and mobile blood testing. The helicopter also has new aviation technology including night vision and autopilot. The hospital said the new helicopter will be safer and quieter than any helicopter in service.

"This new helicopter and its technological advances, such as the new portable ultrasound device, will help our crew as we provide life-saving care throughout central Missouri," said co-medical director of the Staff for Life Helicopter Service Dr. Jeffrey Coughenour.

The Staff for Life Helicopter Service responds to more than 1,000 emergency calls and patient transport requests per year. On board each flight are a flight nurse, flight paramedic, and pilot.

"It's a calling, caring for people when their lives are on the line. The most rewarding part is seeing our patients when they are going home form the hospital," said Leeann Johnson, chief flight nurse for the helicopter service.