Helicopter Emergency Medical Care Delivery Systems

by Edward S. Neumann, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., West Virginia Univ., Morgantown, WV,
Eric G. Ohstrom, (A.M.ASCE), Res. Asst.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., West Virginia Univ., Morgantown, WV,
Frederick J. Wegmann, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Systems-Design Dept., Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI,

Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 4, Pg. 827-843

Document Type: Journal Paper


Through the use of simulation techniques, estimates were prepared of the costs and benefits associated with utilizing helicopters for transferring rural emergency medical cases in the Huntington, WV, medical trade area. Several hypothetical emergency transfer systems which incorporate varying amounts of helicopter capability were simulated and compared along a number of dimensions including response time, transfer time, ability to respond to emergency calls, and cost per transfer. The results indicated that as the number of helicopters increased so did the average cost per emergency transfer. The average emergency transfer costs can only be reduced by decreasing the proportion of fixed cost allocated to emergency transfers. However, increasing the utility of the helicopter component by diversifying its services lowers its availability and increases final destination time for the system. The best system then consists of utilizing helicopters primarily for such functions as police patrols, medical team transfers, or reserve military training and quickly diverting the aircraft to emergency missions when required.

Subject Headings: Aircraft and spacecraft | Emergency management | Benefit cost ratios | Rural areas | Military engineering | Training | West Virginia | United States

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