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Med Flight Milestone: 25 Years, 25,000 Flights

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University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clincs Med Flight rescue ambulanceMADISON - On the morning of June 20, 2005, after dropping off her 17-month-old son at day care, 28-year-old Tracy Ohrt of DeForest had no idea she was about to be thrown into a life-changing moment.

"I owe my life to Med Flight," said Ohrt, now 32, as she reflected back on the car accident that nearly took her life and resulted in numerous facial injuries and broken bones.
 
Now Ohrt is grateful to be alive as the air ambulance service marks its 25,000th completed flight. The landmark was reached when UW Hospital and Clinics' Med Flight transported a patient injured in an accident in Cross Plains on Wednesday, July 15 during its 25th year of service. Med Flight began life-saving flights on April 23, 1985.

"There's no way to really appreciate the high-quality and rapid care, expertise and commitment of the Med Flight staff and the entire emergency care team until you need them," commented Ohrt.
 
She says the immediacy of care was critical because her accident happened near Waunakee on County Highway M during the commuter traffic crunch that can delay ground ambulances.

"In my 20-year career as a flight physician who has been lucky enough to be part of this milestone, Tracy Ohrt's case was one of the most challenging I've ever handled," said Dr. Mike Abernethy, the flight physician who began caring for Ohrt even before she was extricated from the wreckage.

Med Flight is the only air ambulance service that has a physician on every flight to provide the highest-quality and rapid care in life-threatening situations. Med Flight marked another milestone this year when its two aircraft were fitted with the first terrain awareness warning system (TAWS) certified for helicopters. The two Eurocopter 135s are also equipped with, and flight crews are trained in, night vision goggles and instrument flight rules (IFR).

Since Ohrt's crash five years ago, she and her husband had a second child and the family still lives in DeForest.

"I don't intend to move any time soon," laughed Ohrt. "It's so important to me and my family to have accessible and high quality emergency care."

Date Published: 07/16/2009

News tag(s):  medflightemergency

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