Postings 1-50: Tribute to the Med Flight Crew

On May 10, 2008, a UW Hospital and Clinics Med Flight helicopter crashed near the La Crosse airport after transporting a patient to a La Crosse hospital. On board were emergency medicine physician Darren Bean, MD, flight nurse Mark Coyne, RN, and pilot Steve Lipperer.

Darren, Mark and Steve represented the very best in compassionate patient care and they will be deeply missed by all members of the UW Health family who knew and respected this courageous and committed Med Flight crew.

The condolences and personal memories in these pages were submitted from May 11-June 20. Thank you to those who have shared your support for the UW Health community and the family and friends of the dedicated Med Flight crew members killed in the crash.
Darren Bean, MD

Darren Bean, MD


Mark Coyne, RN

Mark Coyne, RN


Steve Lipperer, Med Flight pilot

Steve Lipperer, pilot

Tribute Message Board
Submitted by: Kristen Lerberg, MD, colleague
I graduated from UW School of Medicine and Public Health in 2004 and the Department of Family Medicine Residency in 2007. I had the honor of learning from Drs. Darren and Stacey Bean as well as Dr. LaCharite in those seven years. Now, as a physician in La Crosse, I was just sickened to hear of this news yesterday morning. There are no words to describe or make right of this terrible, terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to Dr. Stacey Bean, Dr. La Charite, their families and all of those touched by the incredible lives of those lost.
Submitted by: Name not provided
Our hearts are with you during this tragic loss.
Submitted by: Doug Newton
As a third year medical student on medicine Dr. Bean was a new ER attending but already highly respected. My interns appreciated getting transfer singouts from him as he was kind, understanding and really knew his stuff. He directly made the lives of the interns easier, but, more importantly, impacted the patients' continuity of care and medical outcomes. On a presonal level he pulled this young third year medical student aside on two occasions for teaching points. He seemed eager to teach even when medical students were not technically rotating through the ER. It has been nearly 5 years now and I can still remember his youthful spirit and reputation as a consummate educator and compassionate caregiver. He truly was a role model for a number of my classmates. I can say Dr. Bean has positively impacted my practice today.
Submitted by: Name not provided, colleague
I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family members, friends and colleagues of Dr. Bean, Mr. Coyne and Mr. Lipperer. Although I never had the opportunity to meet these gentlemen, I am personally grateful to them for who they were and all they contributed to UWHC, Madison, Dane County and beyond. I am proud to be part of the organization they chose to dedicate their talents, efforts and lives to. My thoughts and prayers are with all who are affected. They and their endless contributions will NOT be forgotten.
Submitted by: Holly, friend
There was a saying that got me through certain moments of the day when we lost our daughter. Put simply, the Lord only chooses the most beautiful flowers for his garden. God bless.
Submitted by: Janice M.
I am at a loss for the proper words to express my thoughts. My sympathy to the UW Health community and the individuals' families. They gave of themselves daily without thoughts of danger to care for others. They were dedicated to their patients and may we all remember this about them.
Submitted by: Leah Reimann
I am so sorry that you have lost loved ones or friends due to the unthinkable - while working to save others. This especially resonates with those who participate in transport of critically ill patients - where one knows the risks but takes on the task anyway. I believe that all of us are very saddened today. 
Submitted by: Kelly, RN, UW Health colleague
I am deeply saddened to hear of this terrible tragedy. Working in the Trauma Life Support Center at UWHC, I have the pleasure of receiving patients from Med Flight staff. Mark Coyne always had a smile on his face and was calm, cool and collected no matter how sick the patient was. Dr. Darren Bean made sure everything possible was being done for the patient during the flight. Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing Steve Lipperer personally, I know his skill as a pilot was legendary. To Anne Coyne, Desiree La Charite, and Stacey Bean, please know the whole Madison community is mourning your great losses.
Submitted by: Anna Gashi, colleague
I just finished my 8 week rotation at UW ER and it was such a pleasure to work and learn so much from Dr. Darren Bean. I refuse to believe that this is true!!!
Submitted by: Lisa, UW Health colleague
I met Dr. Darren Bean through work, and found him to be a truly caring and compassionate physician. He was deeply touched by his patients, and strived to provide them with the best care possible. He was dedicated, professional and kind, and he will be so missed. My heart goes out to his family, which he spoke about with great affection. I did not know Mark Coyne or Steve Lipperer, but like Dr. Bean, they are to be commended for their dedication to caring for people in need. The UW and UW Hospital communities have suffered a great loss, and we will never forget these great men.
Submitted by: Deniz Puro, UW Health colleague
My prayers and deepest condolences go out to the families, friends and co-workers of Dr. Darren Bean, Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer. This is truly a tragic event. I have worked for the UW Health system since 1990 and have the utmost respect for the Med Flight crew. I admire all of them for commiting their lives to assist those in need. I know this is a great loss for UW Health, but this is a strong tight knit community and we will fondly hold close this crew in our hearts and memories and move forward in continuing to save lives.
Submitted by: Noelle LoConte, MD, UW Health colleague
I knew Dr. Bean from interactions where he evaluated my patients. I always found him to be extremely professional, friendly and knowledgeable. My patients also appreciated his care. His passing is a deep loss to the UW Hospital and Clinics, and undoubtedly for his family and friends. His family is in my prayers.
- Noelle LoConte, MD
Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology
Submitted by: Giorgio Gimelli, MD, UW Health colleague and friend
You and your great, joyful attitude while working at all hours of the day and night and taking care of the sickest patients will be always remembered. I will miss you immensely.
Submitted by: Steve Van Herwynen
It is with shock and great sadness I heard of the loss of your friends and co-workers. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the families of those who lost their lives.
- Steve Van Herwynen
EMT-P Gold Cross Ambulance, Menasha
Submitted by: Robin Arndt, UW Health colleague and friend
My thoughts are with you all during this time. Having worked with you all in coordinating the Emergency Medicine and Emergency Care and Trauma Symposium, you all show tremendous dedication to the flight medicine profession and do extraordinary work. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family members of those lost in this accident. With deepest condolences.
- Robin (Rob) Arndt
Outreach Specialist
Office of Continuing Professional Development in Medicine Public Health
Submitted by: Tim Fjeldstad
First of all I would like to extend my deep sorrow for your staff and the families of the 3 people that lost their lives. I personally did not know the 3 people but I feel like Med Flight is part of me. When I was younger I would be a patient countless times at the UW Hospital and I had a room on the F/4 4th floor rehab wing (this was over 12 years ago) and my room was about 2 rooms away from the landing pad (that's when it still landed on the ground) and every time I heard it take off or land I quickly wheeled (I'm in a wheelchair) to the windows and watched it and even took some pictures and still have them still to this day. Again I would like extend my deep sorrow to the staff and families and you'll be in my heart and I pray you get to fly again real soon so you can help people in need..... GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU!!!!!!
Submitted by: Jonelle Lund, RN, UW Health colleague and friend
My deepest condolences to the families that lost their loved ones on Saturday... especially Ann Coyne. You are in my thoughts and prayers as I know your heart must be broken. May God lift you up and give you strength.
Submitted by: Tammy Chatman, colleague
The thoughts and prayers of all of the Flight For Life staff and crew go out to each of you in this very trying and tragic time. Should you need us we are just a phone call away. With love and compassion we are thinking of you.
Submitted by: Kris
Picture this - early 1990s, Old Medflight Office, 6:30am. Mark Coyne sitting on top of the desk, feet and all, singing In the Jungle The Lion Sleeps Tonight (very loudly). What a jokester! What a nice guy!
Submitted by: Laurie, RN, colleague
I have been a nurse in southern Wisconsin small hospitals for 22 years. It has always been a comfort to hear Med Flight land and know that my patients were closer to a higher level of care that couldn't be given in rural Wisconsin. I have always been in awe of the compassion, caring and expertise that each Med Flight crew brought to the situation. May God bless the lost and provide comfort to the remaining.
Submitted by: Matthew Molnar, UW Health colleague and friend
Rest in peace my friends.
Submitted by: Danielle
Thank you for living your lives with a healing touch and a caring heart.
Submitted by: Rick Anderson
My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and colleagues of these three outstanding individuals. I will always recall Dr. Bean and Mark Coyne as fine educators with a passion for medicine. May the spirit of these three continue to live in all of us that are associated with delivering care to those in their time of need.
Submitted by: TJ Coker
Thoughts and prayers to the family, co-workers and these three angels that will always be with each and every one of you from this day forward.
- TJ Coker
Program Director, EagleMed, Wichita, KS
Submitted by: Rob
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the heroes lost in today's tragic crash. May the Lord be with all of you during this difficult time.
Submitted by: Elizabeth Jonuska
My heart goes out to the families of these 3 crew members........
Submitted by: Jenny
May God bless all of you for the exceptional sacrifice you have made in service to others. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families and friends.
Submitted by: Penny
My heart and prayers go out to these families. I have worked with the crews on Med Flight as an EMT and it takes a very "special" person to fly. I will always admire them for the job they do and the people they help. God Bless their families, friends and co-workers!
Submitted by: Ryan Runde, colleague
I only knew Mark for a few months from class. Tremendous guy, tremendous teacher. My condolences.
Submitted by: Jeff Marchillo, colleague
Words don't seem to work, hugs help and tears may wash the sting of what happened away a little I guess... What can and will get me/us through this horrible dream is the respect I/we had and still have for these men and what they stood for. Having worked directly with Darren and Mark, I know the impact these men have had on so many lives including mine. They all will be profoundly missed. The spots that these men have vacanted will not ever be filled. The mission to help others goes on, but 3 of our best have been reassigned in the battle against trauma, illness and hurt. Dr Bean, Mr. Coyne and Mr. Lipperer you will be remembered with honor among your peers, friends and family. Thank you for your service. God Bless.
- Jeff Marchillo
Madison Fire Department
Submitted by: Margaret Calarco, colleague
We are so sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your staff, and the families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.
- Margaret Calarco
Chief of Nursing Services, University of Michigan Hospitals
Submitted by: Ed Elder, PhD, RPh
Although I have not previously met this crew of heroes, every time I hear or see the Med Flight helicopter (or any other) departing or approaching the UW medical center from my office in Rennebohm Hall (School of Pharmacy), I say a brief prayer for the patient and crew. My heartfelt condolences go out to their families, friends and colleagues. Darren, Mark and Steve will be remembered in my prayers.
Submitted by: Cory
This has been a difficult day, not only for the family of UW Hospital affiliated practitioners, but also for the city of Madison and the state of Wisconsin as a whole, including myself. I never knew these three people, and yet, I found myself reeling when I heard the news of the crash. The loss of these three special people will be felt for a long time to come, I'm sure. Med Flight will fly again, and family, friends and colleagues of these three men can rest assured that their souls will be right there in the helicopter beside those who will still continue to fly, guiding them on their journey. Rest in peace, Darren, Mark, and Steve.
Submitted by: Jason Towler
My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and coworkers of Dr. Bean, Nurse Mark Coyne and the pilot Steve Lipperer.
Submitted by: Shane Mattingly
All of us at MedFlight of Ohio have you in our thoughts and prayers. You unfortunately are realizing all of our worst nightmares. Our hearts go out to you and our tears are shared with yours. God bless you all in this your hour of need.
- Shane Mattingly
CFC MedFlight of Ohio
Submitted by: Debbie Wellnitz, RN, friend
My prayers and sympathy go out to the families and friends and co-workers of these three Heroes. Whenever Med Flight arrives at our ER (Columbus Community Hospital) to take our most critical patients to a larger facility for further care, it is always a comfort knowing our patients are in the best hands. The loss of these three individuals, so talented and professional, will always be felt. Always helpful, always professional and always a comfort to our patients. Whether it was the gentle touch, a smile, or calming voice, this is how I will forever remember this remarkable crew. It was an honor to know them.
Submitted by: Stephanie
What a sad day for Wisconsin. These extremely dedicated and talented men gave their all to help others. We were blessed to have them with us for the time we did have. God Bless Them ALL and all their families and colleagues!!! Very few people touch the lives of so many.... these 3 men will be remembered for their Wonderful Contributions to our World. REST IN PEACE!! YOU WILL BE MISSED!!!
Submitted by: Beverly
These caring and compassionate men, their families and friends as well as the Madison community are all in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for your heartbreaking losses.
Submitted by: Robert Morgan, colleague
As one of the original members of Med Flight, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to all the members in the program. I worked with Mark back in the '80s before I moved on to anesthesia. He was a dedicated professional as I'm sure were Darren and Steve.
Submitted by: John Gingras
My wife took pictures of this helicopter Saturday morning at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee from her office window which is eye level with the heli pad. If any body would like the photos I would gladly email them out. Our hearts are heavy with great sadness here in Milwaukee. John and Linda Gingras
Submitted by: Alison Craig, colleague
As a local physician, I often have contacted Dr. Bean about patients in the ER. Darren was a wonderful colleague, smart and caring. He will be missed. The service that the Med Flight team provides our community is immeasurably heroic. My deepest condolences to all of the families and friends, including all those at UW Health.
Submitted by: Aurora Reese, UW Health colleague and friend
In Mark's words: "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle." Mark touched so many lives, in class and in the air. I'll always remember him as the single most influential teacher in my life and medical career and will carry his spark, his sass, his memory, and (of course) the fire he passed on to me. He was goofy and sarcastic and would do anything to prove his point... but most of all endlessly passionate about emergency medicine. Mark: we were cut from the same cloth; your flame will keep fueling me throughout med school here. Our hearts go out to the entire Med Flight team and the families of these unforgettable men. You'll be sorely missed.
Submitted by: Eldad Hadar, colleague
I am so saddened to hear about the loss of the Med Flight crew. During my neurosurgery residency at UW I worked as a Med Flight physician from 1994-98. I remember Mark Coyne very well and very fondly. Mark always came to work with a smile and a positive attitude. Between flights, he was always jovial and outgoing but got right down to the business of patient care when needed. My short time at Med Flight was a real pleasure. Everyone there exhibited a high degree of skill and professionalism with one goal in mind - effective patient care. Darren, Mark and Steve appear to have fit right in with this tradition and I'm certain that their presence will be missed.
- Eldad Hadar, MD
Associate Professor, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Submitted by: Brian Lochen, colleague
As an ER Doc in Reedsburg, I rely on Med Flight on a regular basis. I have always thought that every member of the Med Flight team is a hero. I have never been more aware of that than I am today. I met with Darren Bean several months ago, regarding increasing the speed with which we facilitate transfers of MI patients. I was impressed with his passion, dedication and professionalism. He is the physician that we all aspire to be. This is a tragedy of immense proportions. Thank you to all Med Flight team members. You remain heroes to all of us.
Submitted by: Shannon
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the flight crew, but especially to Ann Coyne. She has been a part of my life since I was young and she has been a source of inspiration.
Submitted by: Judy, RN, colleague
...A terrible and tragic loss for the families of the 3 men, and the healthcare community. How ironic that these men died doing what they loved. May God help the loved ones left behind through this very difficult time.
Submitted by: Nathan Brown 
Dr. Bean and his wife Stacey both lectured to our Wilderness Medicine class earlier this Spring. With such enthusiasm for the outdoors and commitment to the people they cared for, you couldn't ask for better role models for the thirty-some future physicians listening attentively in the audience. Dr. Bean's presence will be missed in many places, he is an inspiring personality whose memory will continue to lead many of us in our future careers.
- Nathan Brown
UW School of Medicine and Public Health class of 2010
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