Postings 351-400: 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: Dave Howard
Darren, Mark and Steve will all be missed by myself and my fellow colleagues. These men have touched the hearts of so many people, words can't express the gratitude we all should have for the services they performed. I will miss seeing Darren, when he would come in for a patient pick up for a STEMI from our emergency department for a flight to UW. He always had so much energy, and no one could move fast enough for him to get the patient out the door. I will also miss our enegetic conversations about all the new data and studies he wanted to share with all of us here. Our thoughts and prayers are with these heroes families.
Submitted by: Warren County, PA 911 Center
Our deepest heart felt simpathy to the families, crews, and hospital workers.
- Warren County, Pennsylvania
911 Center
Submitted by: Dennis Beebe
In May 2006 I suffered a major brain bleed (stroke) and Med Flight transported me from Boscobel to Madison.The crew was very caring, professional and made me feel at this terrible moment in my life reassued I was in the right hands. The next night they attempted to visit me while I was asleep in the hospital but decided not to awaken me. Instead I found in the morning when I awoke a Med Flight T-shirt neatly folded and laid on my table. I was informed by the hospital staff that the T-shirts were considered hot items and indeed later it turned up missing during my stay at the hospital. Not to worry though, the shirt was replaced by Med Flight during a private showing of the aircraft and hangar facilities. I will always treasure the shirt, photos and memories I have of the visit and will always be grateful for the compassion they showed and how it seemed to me they went out of their way for me. My thoughts and prayers go out to the crew's family and loved ones, and I have prayed that God bless them for the work they do, their devotion to that work and for their compassion. My deepest sympathies also go out to the UW staff. They will be missed and remembered always.
Submitted by: John Karcher
Our community has been blessed by the devotion from the entire Med Flight team and its decades of service. May you and all related to this tragedy gain strength knowing you are a special group. Thank you for all you do. God Bless their souls and give strength to their loved ones.
Submitted by: Susan Oleinik, friend and colleague
My prayers and condolences go out to the families of all three men. Mark was a great nurse and teacher and my love goes to his wife that I've known for 30 years also.
Submitted by: Phoebe and Raymond Weiss
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. How blessed we all are to have such wonderful people as you all are to serve humanity as you do. May the entire UW Hospital family be lifted up by our prayers and thoughts.
Submitted by: Jennifer Baker O'Neill
My heart goes out to the families and friends of these three life-saving, incredible people. The medical community in Madison is so small in the grand scheme of things. My mother has worked at Meriter for over 20 years, a close friend's parents are part of the Med Flight team, and another close friend's life was saved by Med Flight just over a decade ago. These three people, along with all of the other medical personnel who are involved with this incredible program, have touched innumerable lives and there are thousands upon thousands of people who are forever indebted to the dedicated and brave people who take to the skies to save people they've never met. I truly hope that the families of these three brilliant men can somehow find peace in the knowledge that they saved so many lives and hold a special place in so many hearts.
Submitted by: Joan
As in any time of tragedy, we must come together to mourn the loss, to bless the famiilies of these courageous men and to celebrate their lives. I pray for the families and wish for healing for the colleagues of this crew. 
Submitted by: Rev. Tom Burdette, colleague
We at the University of Michigan Health System, Spiritual Care Department know your pain at this difficult time. Be assured that all of you are in our thoughts and prayers.
- Rev. Tom Burdette
University of Michigan Health System
Submitted by: Viola
My sincere sympathy to the families of the departed. The Med Flight crew was certainly doing one of the much needed jobs in the health care field. Their dedication was much appreciated. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Submitted by: Angie G.
It breaks my heart to learn of this very sad news. Sending you all my love, thoughts and prayers. God Bless.
Submitted by: Lynda
My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the crew that lost their lives.
Submitted by: Pam Phillips, colleague
I will never forget the enthusiasum and excitement of Darren with the time frame for STEMI'S. With him, seconds counted and he was always trying to shave a few off the door to balloon time! He always had a smile to give. Our cath lab heart attack team will miss him dearly and all his efforts. The UW Hospital, city of Madison and surrounding areas will have a huge void to fill. God Bless his family at home and at work.
Submitted by: Victor Hart
I wish to to offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of these brave men who chose to spend their lives saving others. As a health care worker I think we all know the risks we take in our careers and most of us see them as insignificant in the big picture. All life is precious, I know these men will be remembered for all the good they did, and all the lives they touched.
Submitted by: Kelly Dunphy, RN, friend and colleague
For the families and friends who have lost their loved ones, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Ann, I am sorry for your loss, you are in my heart.
Submitted by: Michael Erickson, friend
A member of my family was killed in the crash of a medical flight several years ago in Colorado. Please accept my condolences and prayers during this terrible time.
Submitted by: Bonnie Gensch RN
I am so sorry for the loss of your colleagues and friends, this is such a tragedy. The "why"of why those that help others have to be taken is always in my thoughts.
Submitted by: Morgan Welk
I'm a former patient of Dr. Bean, a downtown resident, and member of the local media. I have great respect and gratitude for Med Flight and UW Health on a personal, family, and professional level. I'm always monitoring the radio frequencies for information on where they're heading, watching them fly over downtown Madison on approach. I'll be thinking of the three men, their lives, and the ones they've saved over the years every time I hear them from now on.
Submitted by: Kathryn
I did not know any of the crew members but news of this tragedy aches my heart. My family is forever grateful to UW's Med Flight team for bringing my stepfather to Madison from Boscobel when he was dying of a heart attack. Because of the Med Flight team, we know he received the best care he could have possibly received. My deepest condolences go out to the families, friends, loved ones and coworkers. I'm so, so sorry for this tragic loss. These three men were giving something truly wonderful and important to people in need.
Submitted by: Steve Williams
I know many rescue fliers (USGS) and citizens whose lives they saved. They are the bravest, most giving, and most skilled of us all. I never met these men but I know their way of life and greatly appreciate their contribution and I grieve their loss and for their families.
Submitted by: Staff and physicians at Fort HealthCare
On behalf of all the staff and physicians at Fort HealthCare and the Fort Memorial Hospital Emergency Services, we wish to express our most profound sadness and sincere sense of loss. We had the pleasure of working with each of these dedicated individuals as colleagues, students and as friends. They will be mourned by many, missed by many more. May God save those who cannot now be saved by Darren, Mark and Steve.
- Staff and physicians
Fort HealthCare
Submitted by: Teri Mitchell, UW Health colleague
In 22 years at UWHC, I've not had the privilege of knowing the Med Flight crew personally but have always felt a great respect and admiration for these heroes. I still get an emotional swell of pride and hope when I see Med Flight zoom overhead in my hometown, or as I walk to the hospital. My heartfelt sympathy and deepest gratitude to the families and friends of these good people who gave their lives serving others.
Submitted by: Patrick McBride, MD, UW Health colleague
The entire UW family is in mourning today. We lost 3 valued colleagues and friends. Our students of many different disciplines were taught by these 3 men and they remember them with great admiration and fondness. I am so grateful for the care they all provided, especially with attention to quality and dedication. Dr. Bean worked closely with many of us in Cardiology and his energy and dedication to achieving excellence will be missed. I hope that the memories of these heroes will remain in your hearts forever.
Submitted by: Diana
This is so tragic. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all their family members, near and far.
- Diana
Decorah Gundersen Clinic
Submitted by: Marlene
My heart goes out to all of you on the loss of your loved ones, relatives, friends and co-workers. Working in a rural area I have found a deep appreciation for the flight crews that offer that special connection that only they can provide in critical circumstances. I am praying for you and your families at this time of tragedy and great loss.
Submitted by: DSW, colleague
What heart-breaking news. Take care, Dr. Darren Bean, Mr. Mark Coyne and Mr. Steve Lipperer. You are heroes. You will live with all of us in our hearts for the rest of our lives.
Submitted by: Theresa, UW Health colleague
Our condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of this flight crew. We are truly sorry for your loss.
- Theresa
UW Health Augusta Family Medicine staff
Submitted by: Mike
Last summer as my father lay dying in Waukesha with an "inoperable" aneurysm one MD at UW said he would attempt a rare procedure IF he could be airlifted right away. The Med Flight crew responded professionally, promptly, heroically, and yes, friendly too. Through their efforts and diligence Dad made it to UW Hospital on time; had the surgery; and lives today. He got a T-shirt from the helicopter crew; but more importantly a new lease on life. God bless the entire Med Flight personnel and thank you.
Submitted by: Cate Harvey
From the leadership and staff at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill., we send our prayers, thoughts and hearts in this true time of sorrow.
- Cate Harvey, Trauma Nurse Coordinator
St. Alexius Medical Center, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Submitted by: Linda, UW Health colleague
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Submitted by: Holli Kammer, UW Health colleague
You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
- Holli Kammer
Respiratory Therapy, CHETA/ECMO
Submitted by: Didi Neuhaus, colleague
I am honored to have worked with Dr. Bean. He had a contagious enthusiasm for medicine and life in general. He graciously shared his knowledge with colleagues and never missed an opportunity to teach. Darren, Mark and Steve gave so much to our community. Thank you to all of them, you will never be forgotten.
Submitted by: Vicki Treinen
My heart goes out to the families and friends of these guys. Thanks for all their dedication to the UW Hospital and Clinics. May they always be remembered.
Submitted by: Todd Clegg
Our thoughts are with you and your families.
- Todd Clegg
GE Healthcare Financial Services, Brookfield, Wis.
Submitted by: Dan
It was with great saddness to hear of the loss that your flight program has sustained. I did not know Darren, Mark or Steve personally, but I felt like I did though mutal colleagues. I have heard many great stories about these guys and wished to have had the pleasure of meeting them. Our profession has sustained a great loss, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Darren, Mark, Steve and to the UW Med Flight crews. I know they will be greatly missed, but you have been blessed for knowing them for the time you were given. There is nothing that can be said to ease the pain you all are feeling, but know that the rotors will be spinning soon in honor of 3 of the finest air medical personnel to walk through the doors of UW Med Flight. Time will heal the hurt, but we shall never forget them. May God watch over you all.
- Dan
Flight For Life, Milwaukee
Submitted by:Kelly, colleague
I had the honor of seeing Dr. Bean in action in the trauma setting here at UW. I was in awe every time. His calmness and dedication to the patient and the staff around him were undescribable. He helps to calm other staff as well as the patient and at the same time made sure that each med student or resident in the room is always learning something. His bedside manner was unlike anything I have seen before. He truly was an inspiration to all those around him. My many thanks to these three men for what they did every day. They truly were angels and will be missed greatly. My thoughts, prayers and well wishes to the families of these flying heroes, friends and to the UWHC family that I am so lucky to be a part of.
Submitted by: Elaine Winkel, MD, UW Health colleague
As a heart transplant physician who's gone on organ procurement, I've experienced firsthand how harrowing flights can be. It takes a special kind of person to do that routinely. Thank you Darren, Steve and Mark for your courage to make these flights and dedication to our patients. You'll never be forgotten.
Submitted by: Caitlin Curtis, UW Health colleague
I am so sorry for your loss. The Med Flight Crew is an indispensible part of our every day work at UWHC. I am a pharmacist on the trauma unit, and my office is down the hall from the Med Flight quarters. My thoughts and prayers are with you all as you struggle through this terrible loss that is felt keenly here in the hospital.
Submitted by: CVICU, St. Mary's Hospital
Our hearts and prayers are with the family of these three heros. The medical community in Madison has surely lost 3 great individuals. God Bless their families at this emotional time.
St. Mary's Hospital
Submitted by: Barb, colleague
My deepest condolences for Steve's wife, Desiree. She is a wonderful woman who found happiness and joy in her marriage to him. I am so sorry. Thank you Steve for all of your dedication and all of the lives you safely brought to UW. UW and the state lost an excellent pilot.
Submitted by: JFB, colleague
Our house is a few blocks from the hospital, and my kids grew up listening to and watching Med Flight. They actually thought Bucky Badger flew the chopper because his determined visage always graced the tail fin. Yesterday's tragedy reminded me of the fact that Med Flight represented the best of what UW has to offer to the state. Med Flight, more than any of our clinical services, makes tangible the very essence of the Wisconsin Idea - the notion that UW's mission is to serve the citizens of Wisconsin. And not in vague, abstract ways, but in ways that truly impact lives, save lives. These three men died in service to that noble idea. The pain of their families is unimaginable. I can only hope that at some time, years down the road, that some small solace can be found in the fact that the UW community will be forever in the debt, in awe really, of the contribution these three men made to the people state of Wisconsin.
Submitted by: Heather Peto
My heart goes out to the families and friends of Dr. Bean, Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer. I am so sorry. I did not know Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer personally although during my third-year emergency medicine rotation they were spoken of often and with great fondness by the doctors and nurses in the ER. I know they were very much loved and respected. As a medical student, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Bean during an emergency medicine rotation. His good-natured humor sparked laughter among his coworkers, his dedication and sincerity made the patients smile, and his careful attention to teaching and providing hands-on opportunities to his medical students made the two-week rotation one of my favorite and most productive learning experiences of third year. This little note is for Dr. Bean's children - I'd like you to know that you can be very very proud of your Dad.
Submitted by: Chris Dillon
My prayers to all the friends and families of these three wonderful people. I worked with Dr. Bean as a medical student during my third year ER rotation and he is a big reason I'm currently in my ER residency. My heart sank when I heard the news, and I only hope these three are in God's hands now and that their families can find strength to move forward. May God bless and hold Darren, Mark and Steve.
- Chris Dillon
Med School Class of 2005
Submitted by: Jeff Grimm, colleague
My deepest sympathy to the families and friends of Darren, Mark and Steve as well as all at UW. I have had the pleasure to work with the UW flight crew on multiple occasions. Know that everyone in the air medical community shares in your loss.
- Jeff Grimm, RN, EMT-P
ThedaStar Air Medical, Neenah, Wis.
Submitted by: Ann O'Brien, colleague
I am so very sorry for the loss of the very best crew. I know that you guys on the team are just hurting inside. I will always remember all the times I have served them in the café and of how kind they were towards others. I will keep your Med Flight team in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time of sorrow.
Submitted by: Joshua Vrabec, colleague     
Dr. Bean was always open to my input as a consultant, extremely friendly, and just a plain old great guy. I'll miss seeing him in the ER, joking around with him, and taking care of patients with him. God bless him and his family.
Submitted by: Nicole Reynolds
Three years ago when I was 12-years-old, I had to have an emergency surgery for a burst appendix. Things didn't go well, so I had to be Med Flighted to UW Madison. I would just like to say thank you for helping me and saving my life! My sincere thoughts are with you. I will be praying for you and the ones who have lost their lives.
Submitted by: Karen Reynolds
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of the Med Flight crew. I know first hand what heroes they are. Three years ago my daughter had to be Med Flighted to UW Madison. She would not have made it if she was not Med Flighted. My heart sank when I heard the news of the crash. My prayers go out to the families of the crew and our thoughts are with everyone at the UW. God Bless.
Submitted by: Stephanie Swartz, RN, colleague
Dear colleagues, I was saddened to hear about the Med Flight crew tragedy. My condolences and prayers are with you at this time. I am a UW Madison nurse alumni who has fond memories working in the old UW Hospital ER. I was a flight nurse in the 1970s and Administrative Director for MedLink Air for 7 years at Gundersen Lutheran. I have the highest respect for the Med Flight Team and the heroic work they do daily. My heart goes out to Darren, Mark and Steve's families.
- Stephanie Swartz, RN
Chief Nursing Officer, Gundersen Lutheran Hospital
Submitted by: Christopher, friend
A tremendous loss to the EMS Community. Three experts that have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Three brave souls that answered the call. My heart goes out to each of your families that were left behind. Mark, you were an awesome educator. My heart is heavy and my vision blurred today thinking about all the fun I had in your class. It was an honor to know you and see your teaching expertise in action. You will forever be in my thoughts and I will continue providing care to patients in your memory. God Bless you.
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