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Elevated care

Geisinger Jersey Shore unveils helipad

PHOTO BY JOHN BERGMUELLER/THESUNGAZETTE Jersey Shore Borough Councilman Sean Simcox speaks to the community during the Life Flight fly-in ceremony on Geisinger Jersey Shore’s rooftop. Simcox said it is encouraging to see Geisinger invest in a helipad that will, in turn, help improve hospital staff’s ability to care for patients during medical emergencies.

JERSEY SHORE –Introduced by the whirring of helicopter blades, Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital unveiled a new helipad to the public.

“Before the helipad’s construction, medical helicopter transports from the Jersey Shore area occurred at the Jersey Shore Airport in Antes Fort, nearly three miles from the hospital,” Marc Stempka, Media Relations Specialist for Geisinger, said.

Now, Geisinger staff can stabilize a patient at Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital, then transport the patient directly to a new medical facility should their case require a higher level of care.

Geisinger Life Flight is one of the services that will use the helipad, which on average, transports five patients per month from Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital.

Stempka reported the project cost nearly $2 million, and was financed in part by a gift to the Geisinger Health Foundation and through a $250,000 grant from the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.

The Geisinger Life Flight crew at Wednesday’s ceremonial fly-in at Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital pictured with hospital and community leadership with the aircraft in the background. Left to right: James Young, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Geisinger’s North-Central Region; Sean Simcox, member of the Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital Community Advisory Board; Chris Royles, Life Flight pilot; Tyffanny Cavanaugh, Life Flight registered nurse; Steven Perrin, Life Flight paramedic; Kenneth Thompson, Life Flight paramedic; and Michael Fitzpatrick, MD, Geisinger’s co-chair of emergency medicine. PHOTO PROVIDED

Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, co-chair of emergency medicine for Geisinger, thanked community partners and asserted the hospital as a service for the community.

“While the helipad is here at the hospital, it’s important to note that it’s a community resource,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s not simply a Geisinger facility. It’s an enabler for all the care we give locally here.”

Fitzpatrick said the helipad will help elevate care for patients who need it in a timely fashion.

“The helipad is going to make differences in people’s lives,” Fitzpatrick said.

“We are fortunate to have a hospital like this in our Jersey Shore for our community,” Jersey Shore Borough Councilman Sean Simcox said. “Whether it’s upgrades to the inside of the hospital, or additions to the outside like this, it’s encouraging to see this rural community hospital and its employees get the deserved attention that allows them to provide such outstanding care.”

Simcox expressed gratitude for the hospital, which supports families and neighbors with care when they are sick or hurt.

“They do so much to provide us care but sometimes we might need the next level of care,” Simcox said. “It’s a time saver and it will be a life-saver.”

Geisinger Life Flight has transported more than 75,000 patients since 1981 and averages more than 3,500 transports a year, according to Stempka.

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