Postings 301-350: 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: Kolby Kolbet, colleague
Darren, Mark and Steve: You left a permanent mark on our hearts. Our thoughts are with your families, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. We will forever remember you on each and every mission from here on out. Blue skies and tail winds forever.
- Your friends at Gundersen Lutheran MedLink AIR
La Crosse, Wis.
Submitted by: Scott Hopkins
My thoughts and prayers to the flight crews' family and UW Health staff. As a resident of Madison and college student who comes home from Oshkosh when I can, my drive is made a lot easier knowing if an accident did occur and I needed to be transported by air there was world class medical crew who could do so. I know that the helicopters mean a lot to the county and surrounding counties. I hope that the other helicopter will get cleared for flight soon. Keep up the good work and thanks for all you do.
Submitted by: Grace Flood, colleague
Our research group had the honor of working with Darren on two projects last year. He proved to be one of the most positive, energetic people I have ever met. He was absolutely driven to improve patient care and his enthusiasm was infectious - when he spoke, you couldn't help but believe in his mission! And despite his tremendous ability, he was such a humble, gracious person. This is an unexplainable tragedy ... my heart aches for Darren's family and the families of the other crew members.
Submitted by: Julieann
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the three very talented and awe-inspiring men whose lives were lost suddenly. I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Darren Bean when my wrist was injured in the ER, and also had Mark Coyne as my instructor at MATC for EMT class. These three individuals made a huge difference and impact in medicine. And they will not be forgotten.
Submitted by: Chase Bower, NRCCEMT-P
My thoughts are with the families of the victims. May god bless all of you.
- Chase Bower
Carilion Life-Guard 11, Radford, Virginia
Submitted by: Warren Tripp, colleague
It is hard to convey the heroism of Dr. Bean, Nurse Coyne and Pilot Lipperer to those who don't labor in the field of Emergency Services. Working with the sick, injured and dying is stressful but knowing that there are dedicated professionals willing to risk their lives to rapidly transport the sick and injured of south central Wisconsin when the resources needed are great, is a blessing. Thank God there are still real heroes in this jaded world. Thank God for great men like Dr. Bean, Nurse Coyne and Pilot Lipperer. They will be missed but they will also be remembered and memorialized for the next generation who were cheated of their opportunity to learn from the best of our time. That is the survivors challenge to carry on their work. I only knew these men as Med Flight crew and I worked personally with Dr. Bean with EMS matters. To their families, I can only offer my thanks for sharing these great men with us and my heart felt condolences on your loss. My permanent recollection of Dr. Bean is his intelligence, energy and his smile. God Speed!
- Warren Tripp, MD, FACEP
Medical Director of Stoughton Area EMS and Oregon Fire/Rescue
Submitted by: Kim Riedel
My heart is breaking for the families of these three men. I know all too well the horror of such an accident. My dad, Dennis Hoyes was the co-pilot on the University of Michigan Survival Flight that crashed into Lake Michigan on June 4, 2007. Pray hard and often for these families. They will need your prayers in the days, weeks and months to come.
Submitted by: Julia
The condolences on this site are amazing to say the least. May all of you take some comfort in the fact that these tributes are so far reaching. Not only southern Wisconsin, but from all over the United States people are grieving along with you. What a huge loss for their loved ones, the medical community and the patients they serve. To the families of Darren, Mark and Steve, you have given the ultimate sacrifice. Because of your loss, many have heavy, heavy hearts and are sharing your grief. Our prayers are with you all.
Submitted by: Xin and Chris
We live within earshot of the hospital helicopter launch pad, and the helicopter crews are heroes for our kids. We are very saddened to this tragedy as signified by the silence of the launch pad today. About 2-3 years ago, we made two trips to the UW ER when our older son had fever-induced seizures. Both times Dr. Bean was the doctor on call. His friendliness and willingness to share his time made a lasting impression on us. It is difficult for anyone to be so cheerful in the middle of the night, especially under high stress of the ER. We wanted to write this message for Dr. Bean's two young children. We will remember your father as a truly exceptional physician and a wonderful person.
Submitted by: Raenette Dewart
I am a long way from Madison, being a transciptionist for Amphion Medical Solutions and a resident of California. The news of the helicopter crash came to me first by way of an E-mail sent out by a coworker. I cannot tell you how deeply the news affected me and how very, very sorry I am for the families, friends, and colleagues of those brave men, who I know will miss them dearly. I did not know any of them personally, but having transcribed many, many of Dr. Bean's notes, indeed, felt a "bond" to him and as such, offer my deepest sympathies to his family, in addition to those of pilot and flight nurse. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to express my heartfelt sympathies to all of you.
- Raenette Dewart
Amphion Medical Solutions, California
Submitted by: Name not provided
Our hearts are with you during this tragic loss.
Submitted by: Scott "Scotty" Belknap, colleague, friend, family
Darren, I can still see you smiling as I think of the days past when we worked together. What was the secret that you had that kept your spirits high? Mark, although I have never sailed, your stories of sailing the keys continue to remind me of happier days. I will think of them often. Steve, we had planned on going diving together, maybe Belize or Cayman. We were going to talk about flying and what the future holds. I would tell lies and you could buy the beers. I've called you all my friends but actually, all of you at UW Med Flight are my family. May God help us all.
Submitted by: Peggy Baker, colleague
After working with Dr. Bean in the ER I was deeply saddened by the loss of this wonderful individual. It was evident that his heart was with his patients and he had a true passion for his work. This combination is not often seen. He will be greatly missed by his co-workers and anyone that knew him. My deepest sympathy goes to his family and I hope that the healing hand of God will help them through this difficult time.
Submitted by: Rita Martin
My thoughts and prayers go out to all three families. There have been any lives affected by this very tragic accident. The family closest to my heart is the Madison Area Technical College family which includes coordinators, instructors, staff and students. Mark Coyne touched many lives all over southern Wisconsin in his many years of teaching Emergency Medical Services, and I had the privilege and honor to work along side him for all those years. He continued up until the day he died to teach me more than I can ever know. I had many opportunities to work along side him in the classroom and also in the field, doing scene flights and always appreciated his dedication and concern. Thank you Mark for all you have given me.
Submitted by: Judy Coyne-Wanless, UWHC Quality Resources
Mark: I will miss our hugs, laughs, cries and long talks. You always wanted to "make a difference" and you certainly did. Love ya.
Submitted by: Stephen Lo
Med Flight has always been difficult and hazardous duty because of the urgency of the medical problems and the nature of flying these missions. I have always admired the people who have flown MedFlight, not only for their medical expertise and dedication but also for sheer bravery. May God bless these three brave souls who have touched so many lives. My thoughts and sympathies go out the families and friends of these wonderful men - they will be sorely missed.
Submitted by: Cyndy Gaspard, colleague
To the co-workers, family and friends of the Med Flight crew members that recently died in service in our area. After working for 28 years in the TEC of Gundersen Lutheran, I always had great respect for the staff of Med Flight. The added access to emergency medical care that a helicopter service offers to a community has saved many lifes. Unfortunately, this is not without risk to the courageous people that provide this service. To those who knew these brave people, be very proud of those who have done so much for others. My prayers and thoughts are with you at this time of sorrow.
- Cyndy Gaspard
Gundersen Lutheran
Submitted by: Winnie, friend
Mark loved his work and couldn't get enough of helping others. If he had a down day, he never showed it. There are no words to describe this loss. Couldn't we mow lawns together just one more time?
Submitted by: Larry, Schroeder
On behalf of Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital & Clinics' board of directors, medical staff and employees, I would like to express our sincere condolences to the UW Med Flight program and to the families of Dr. Darren Bean, Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer. Countless lives have been saved by the efforts of these three men and many others like them with the UW Med Flight program. We feel a strong sense of partnership with and appreciation for the UW Med Flight doctors, nurses and pilots who have always come through for us when there is an immediate need to transfer a patient to higher level care, reducing the 30-minute drive to just eight minutes. As I spoke with staff following Saturday's accident, I heard wonderful sentiments expressed about these men and their dedication. I was told Dr. Bean really stood out - his smile and his ability to communicate and draw everyone into the effort made him an amazing caregiver and leader. Thank you to the families of Dr. Darren Bean, Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer for sharing these talented, dedicated men with us. Their time was cut short, but the contributions they made will live on forever.
- Larry, Schroeder, CEO
Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital & Clinics
Submitted by: Dan
We so often take for granted the sight and sound of the ambulance or the big red and white whirlybirds with Bucky painted on the tail. I often say a prayer to God thanking Him for giving us those people who really want to do that for a vocation. The men and women in the emergency medical field are the best of the noble field of healing and teaching. God bless all of the UW staff and their families.
Submitted by: Michael Ostrov, MD
On behalf of the GHC medical staff, I would like to send our deepest condolences on this tragic accident and loss of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
- Michael Ostrov, MD
Group Health Cooperative Medical Director
Submitted by: Kathy Wessels, RN Care Coordinator
To the family, friends and co-workers of your Med Flight Crew, please accept my deepest sympathy and know that you are all in my prayers.
- Kathy Wessels
Gundersen Lutheran Prairie du Chien Clinic
Submitted by: Ron Colson
This is very, very sad news. They, like the military, gave their lives to help and save others. God bless them. Their families and friends will be in my prayers.
Submitted by: Diane Jewell, colleague, friend
My husband, Ryan, attended medical school with Darren Bean. We will remember Darren always for the passion he had for life and the most amazing gift he gave Ryan - the love of fly-fishing and love for the outdoors. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the crew. Please know that you are all in our hearts and prayers.
Submitted by: Polly Davenport-Fortune
As a nurse practitioner in neurosurgery for many years, I've witnessed the life-saving work of Med Flight crews. Med Flights have saved so many lives and have helped so many others to have less severe neurological sequelae. I'm so sorry for this loss. I can't even imagine how hard it must be for their families and friends. I feel the sadness just as a fellow health care worker. I pray that you find strength and peace. I hope you remember that the med flight mission, albeit dangerous, makes the world a better, safer place.
Submitted by: Sally Hillesland
Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family members involved at this very sad and difficult time. May God surround you with loving friends and provide great comfort.
Submitted by: Katie
My deepest sympathies go out to the families of the crew. As an EMT, I've had several encounters with Med Flight and they've always brought a sense of peace to very stressful situations. The crew will be missed however, their contributions to our community will continue to live on. As for Bill (the dispatcher) may you find comfort and peace in knowing that you are a hero as well. You did all you could do. I believe the greatest tribute we could give is to continue the Med Flight program and continue to reach out to help those in need. God bless!
Submitted by: Heather, colleague
I am very sorry for what has happened and wish it didn't happen to such great people. My thoughts and prayers go out to their family and friends.
Submitted by: Andrew Frattaroli
From the Mount Pleasant Fire Department in Charleston, SC. Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved in this horrific tragedy. However, we all know where each and every one of them are now, and that should give everybody peace of mind. RIP.
- Andrew Frattaroli
Mount Pleasant Fire Department, Charleston, South Carolina
Submitted by: Sandy F.
My thoughts and prayers are with these wonderful men's families and friends. I am so very sorry for your losses.
Submitted by: Michelle, Borreson
My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and coworkers of those who lost their lives in helping save another's life. This was a tragic accident and extend my deepest sympathy at this time.
Submitted by: Marie Walter, RN
As an RN at Gundersen Lutheran, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the families, friends, and co-workers of the men lost in the Med Flight crash this past weekend. I cannot begin to imagine the profound grief you must be feeling. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
- Marie Walter, RN
Gundersen Lutheran
Submitted by: Jason Lichtenstein
Its been about 8 years since I last saw Darren Bean. I was a first year intern at Carolinas Medical Center. I was fortunate enough to start in the ICU and was on a team with Darren Bean, then a 2nd-year resident in ER. His knowledge was encyclopedic and his devotion to patient care was unsurpassed. He had just been elected intern of the year for being the best intern in the hospital the preceding year, yet there was no show of arrogance at all. Darren always wanted to do what was best for the patient, and unlike most trainees in their early stages, he almost always knew what that was and how to do it. He is a big loss to the UW Medical Center, as are the rest of the crew. I'm sure he will be missed but not forgotten.
Submitted by: Mark Sanderfoot, UW Health colleague
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and colleagues of Dr. Bean, Mark and Steve. I didn't personally know these individuals however I am deeply saddened by this tragedy. From what I have read and heard they were 3 individuals who were passionate about what they did and touched many lives. I never miss an opportunity to look up as Med Flight flies over my house. I think about the patient and the hope and possibilities that Med Flight provides. I will always remember these 3 heroes. May they rest in peace.
Submitted by: Jan
I live in Prairie du Chien and I know how important the Med Flight crews are to this rural area. They have saved many lives here over the years. May God bless all of their families and hold them close in their time of sorrow.
Submitted by: Cheryl
My heart goes out to all the families, friends and colleagues who knew Darren, Mark, and Steve. This was a great loss and I am very saddened by it. You are all in my prayers.
Submitted by: Beth, colleague
I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Dr. Bean at a social gathering, along with his wife and young son. I could tell he had great passion and dedication to his job, which also reflected with the love he shared with his family. I have worked at UW Hospital for almost 30 years and remember the first day that we received the Med Flight helicopter. I have always been in awe with each time it takes off and lands. I live in its flight path as it heads northwest of Madison, and will always look up as it flies over. Now as it flies over, I will always remember this compassionate and dedicated flight crew. My thoughts go out to all family members and friends. You will truly be missed! God Bless.
Submitted by: Brenda, patient
When I heard that the UW Med Flight was lost yesterday, I hoped that Dr. Bean was not aboard. As a UW Health patient, I have met many of the ER staff over the past few years. He was the first physician I knew who was so passionate about his work, and I knew he loved his Med Flights. In 2006 he treated me one evening and sent me home around midnight. When I returned with unforeseen complications before 8am the next morning, he stopped in to see me before he took off on his next flight. He apoligized for not being able to predict the complications I had. I was impressed, and grateful, for his expertise, devotion, and compassion he showed me. Dr. Bean made my visit to ER to as painless as possible. He seemed to have a way to lift spirits of everyone he came in contact with while I was there. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for his family and everyone who worked with him. This accident was a true tragedy. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with all of them, and the families and loved ones of Mark and Steve too. All three of these individuals did truly compassionate work with Med Flight. I truly appreciate all that they have given to the community over the years.
Submitted by: Rose
Let us take comfort in knowing that Darren, Mark and Steve are watching over all of us now. My deepest sympathies to the family, friends and co-workers of these remarkable men. They are true heroes. God Bless.
Submitted by: Dan Leamy, colleague
To Darren, Mark, and Steve's families, I want to give you my heartfelt sadness. I was an EMT for several years, and I was blessed to have Mark as a recertification instructor. When sitting in class and hearing Mark talk about his "other life" when not teaching for MATC, his passion for Emergency Medicine and most importantly Med Flight was very noticeable. Mark would often tell stories of recent calls which helped us understand rhymes and reasons things are done a certain way in Emergency Services. However with this unfortunate happening, I think Mark died doing something that he so loved. My deepest sympathy to friends and families of Darren, Mark and Steve.
Submitted by: Joe Caron
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Submitted by: Peter Swarr
I was in Darren's University of Vermont med school class of '99. I remember Darren's easy smile and laugh. I always was impressed with his passion for helping others as well as his brilliance. He was always quick with a kind word. I'll never forget his outside interests. He was passionate about his flyfishing and mountain biking. My heart aches for his wife and children.
Submitted by: Amy, Flight RN, colleague
You never think something like this will ever hit this close to home. I had the pleasure of getting to know Mark through EMS as well as while working at UW Hospital Trauma Life Support Center. He was constantly on the move, visiting his friends and colleagues while on duty. He brought joy and inspiration to many. He was definitely an inspiration to me, encouraging me to pursue my career as a Flight RN. The last thing I remember him saying to me was, "Follow your dreams, and be safe." In my new position as Flight RN, I will live by those words. Thank you Mark. You, as well as Dr. Bean and Steve Lipperer, will be deeply missed.
- Amy, Flight RN
Flight For Life, Fond du Lac
Submitted by: Tom and Darcy Kobinsky
We are sending our prayers to their families, for healing and for peace...
Submitted by: Laurie Parisi, RN, MSN
We go into this aspect of nursing aware of the risks in flight but our hearts and minds transcend possible dangers to provide excellence in patient care. Our prayers and hearts go out to all the families involved and we want these families to know they have all of us in flight nursing, present and past, right there with them in offering support in any way that may be needed. As a former Flight For Life member, I know the bridges built between programs were valuable and this strikes all of us intimately. You are all in our prayers.
Submitted by: Brenda LeBaron, RN, BSN, MICT
LifeTeam in Kansas wishes our deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones. You will all be in our prayers.
- Brenda LeBaron, RN, BSN, MICT
LifeTeam, Kansas
Submitted by: Rebecca Horihan
As an employee of Gundersen Lutheran, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies for the loss of three very special people. Not only will they be missed by their families, but I'm sure will be greatly missed by friends and co-workers.
- Rebecca Horihan
Gundersen Lutheran
Submitted by: Bob Patros
Our prayers and thoughts are with the families, friends, and colleagues of these wonderful individuals who gave their lives in service to others.
Submitted by: Jay Singleton, friend
I find it very hard to accept the great tragedy that has befallen the state of Wisconsin in losing such great men. When things are lost, we as humans seek to replace that which we no longer possess. This will be impossible to do in this case. Our loss is great, and my heart goes out to their families. 
- Jay Singleton
Baraboo EMS
Submitted by: Nancy
My son is a paramedic with Tri-State Ambulance and was working the night of the crash. I spoke with him on Sunday morning and he was, of course, devastated at what had happened. My mother's heart was moved at the thought of those losses and my nurse's heart (I am a nurse) was moved at the loss of fallen comrades. No words are adequate to take away the pain and words of tribute seem empty, but know that there are many upholding you in their thoughts and prayers.
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