ST. FRANCIS HOSPITAL (KRDO) -- Thursday morning, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services and Flight for Life Colorado celebrated the launch of the St. Francis Hospital's new helipad location with an inaugural helicopter landing.
The previous location of the helipad required emergency responders to cross a parking lot to get patients into the hospital. The new helipad is located on the roof of St. Francis' newest building extension, where patients will now land steps away from help.
"The opening of this helipad is invaluable to the patients and community that we serve," said Shelby Jackson, Assistant Nurse Manager of the Colorado Springs Base for Flight for Life Colorado. "It will decrease our transport time from our old helipad by five minutes, and we will be able to take critical patients to the E.R. within a matter of seconds.”
The hospital extension was built in 2018 and includes an elevator that runs from the rooftop straight to the hospital's current Intensive Care Unit, neonatal ICU, and emergency department.
Brian Erling, CEO of Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, said in terms of medical care, every second matters.
“I’ll give you an example," said Erling. "In stroke, one minute is over 2 million brain cells. So it matters huge when it comes to cardiac events, trauma, and neurological catastrophes, minutes matter.”
Lifeguard Three is the helicopter that made the celebratory landing.
Over the past year, Erling said that helicopter alone has transported over 530 people.
Throughout Flight for Life Colorado's 50-year history, its fleet has saved the lives of more than 160,000 people.