BY MARCY SHORTUSE - It’s official: Lee County emergency services have declared that, for the time being, it’s out with the orange and white and in with the blue and gray.
The familiar MEDSTAR helicopter, used to transport seriously ill or injured patients from all over the county to area hospitals, has been grounded. There’s no need to worry, though, because where we’ve lost one helicopter we’ve actually gained immediate access to two.
According to Boca Grande Fire Chief C.W. Blosser, MEDSTAR was grounded on August 21. It was determined that new ambulatory flight service for our area will be provided by AeroMed (the “blue and gray”). Their helicopter serving this area has relocated from Labelle to the Page Field Airport, so response time will be the same, approximately 10 to 12 minutes or less.
When it was announced that MEDSTAR was grounded, the BayFlite service out of St. Petersburg said they would keep a helicopter at the North Port landing zone. That means that our area has immediate access to two helicopters now, not just one.
There are also several other medical helicopter services in the area, including Sarasota, Sebring and Tampa.
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