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Thoughts From A Clinician

    Klint is a Flight Paramedic in Nebraska, USA.  He is a critical care educator for Distance CME, LLC, blog writer for FlightBridgeED, and is very active in FOAMed.  You can follow Klint on Twitter @NoDesat.     Klint W. Kloepping, FP-C, NRP, C-NPT, AAS FlightBridgeED, LLC More

Vigilance, my friends.

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As I prepare my flight suit for tomorrows shift, I feel uneasy because there is a calm, quiet chatter in our community, free of the intensity after a loss. I have no doubt that I will return home tomorrow night, navigating the same risks, but feel as though I am always waiting for the "other shoe" to drop when things get quiet and comfortable on social media and in the news.

Sometimes that is good. I enjoyed when we went an entire year without a single fatality. If we back away and look at the larger picture, it is a different result. There will be some that prefer me to not tell you what I see.

I have waited to post this to avoid anyone feeling that it is pointed towards any one event. I also become more frustrated over the years as the names (read: empathetic grief and growing anger) pile on, year after year:

There has been three fatal helicopter air ambulance crashes in about six months, nine crew and one patient died. The public response to it seems to be far less of an outrage and outcry than that of the crash of the NYC tour helicopter that claimed five lives and had one survivor, or even far less than the SINGLE passenger killed when Southwest Airlines had their first fatal incident in forever. Why is that? 

Have we come to accept the deaths of our air medical families? I am convinced the industry as a whole has become numb and has fallen into some sort of apathetic acceptance that we are “dying, doing what we love.” I am not pointing fingers at anyone but us, all of us. 94 percent of crashes are due to human decision making, human error* -- not just the pilot, but the entire crew. No loss of life is acceptable for commercial flight -- zero. What number of fatalities is an acceptable one for helicopter air ambulance? Do we not set the bar? C’mon folks. 

I have lost people close to me, have worked with the entire community to achieve the number of ZERO lost in a crash. I still fly/transport full time and being exposed to the same risks. I feel empathetic, sad, frustrated and at times I am angry. This must stop. It cannot ever become OK or normal.

The helicopter air ambulance community is necessary for the fabric of EMS. We must always strive for a healthy, safe and efficient reputation. We must do better, to the point of outrage if that is what is needed.

Vigilance, my friends.


Jonathan Godfrey



Dr. Ira Blumen, OSI HEMS, et al.


Spirit 2 Strong

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It is with a heavy heart that we at FlightBridgeED extend our condolences to the Spirit family.  The news that we have lost a HEMS provider is never easy to hear, especially for co-workers and family members.  In addition, this tragedy has pulsated through the HEMS industry and left us with emptiness in our hearts and leaving us with questions about what we do and the sacrifices we make.  Now what?  Where to we go from here?  And how do we honor the fallen?  But through tragedy we can – and we will – honor the fallen daily by continuing to answer the call and respond even when our fallen mates cannot.  

The support from the HEMS industry never ceases to amaze me.  The state of Wisconsin’s response has been so incredible, that I want to say, “Well done!” to the Governor and state officials.  To the families of those involved, we are so sorry for your loss and extend our deepest sympathies to you and your families.  Please know that these crew members have not given the ultimate sacrifice in vain and that their memory lives on each time we answer the call.  Throughout the HEMS world, these tragedies force us to re-evaluate the things that matter in life.  No matter how long we have been flying or for whom we work, we must pause and remember why we do what we do.  I reread a post by Klint’s wife, and it reminded me that the people are why I love this job.  From my perspective, it seems as if these fallen crew members loved people.  These three individuals have given the ultimate sacrifice, so today – and always – we will remember them:  Rico Caruso, Pilot; Greg Rosenthal, Flight Paramedic; and Klint Mitchell, Flight Nurse.  Brothers, we have the watch now and will take it from here.  May you all rest in peace.

Klint Kloepping

Peer Review #1:


Dr. Dan Davis, MD


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