Are Hospital Helicopters Cost Effective Lifesaving Equipment Or Just Expensive Toys?

Sure, there are situations where trauma victims in isolated areas in immediate need of emergency surgery are rushed to the operating room by a medical helicopter. However, this seems to be more the rare exception than the rule.

Most air ambulance trips are much more mundane retrievals of accident victims who could just as easily and effectively be transported by ground ambulance. In those situations the medical helicopter is used because…it’s not in use and is too expensive to be left sitting idle. It is not uncommon in medical areas of cities to see multiple medical helicopters of competing hospitals sitting idle within sight of each other just waiting for something to do.

Are medical helicopters just one more glaring example of America’s out-of-control spending on healthcare?

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