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.
Submitted by: Jon
My thoughts and prayers are with you all in this time of sadness. No words can adequately make the pain feel better. Though they may be gone from this world, they continue to fly on in another kingdom, and they will always fly watch over each and every one of you.
Submitted by: Shawn O'Brien, friend, colleague
Darren Bean was a wonderful, wonderful human being. He also, as a physician, personified emergency medicine in my mind. I will always be reminded of him when I look at my son who Darren cared for (stitched up his lip). It will remind me of the playfulness and gentleness he showed to a scared toddler.
Submitted by: Mike Riendl
I will pray families and friends of the Med Flight Team. God be with you.
Submitted by: Amie
Sending my deepest condolences to the families of the heroes lost. I've had several interactions with the Med Flight crew at the hospital I work at, and they've always displayed the utmost of professionalism. As a student nurse who dreams of being a flight nurse someday, the men and women who work on the flight crew inspire me. My heart is deeply saddened for the loss of three great men who were heroes in every way. Rest in peace Mark, Darren, and Steve. Fly home.
Submitted by: Joy Newlun
Our entire community is shocked and saddened by the passing of these wonderful people. I'm sure they have been an important part of saving many lives and they will be missed by all. My thoughts and prayers are with the families.
Submitted by: Shirley, UW Health colleague
I am at a loss for words. While I didn't know any of them personally, they are still members of our UW family and will be sorely missed by all. My thoughts are with the families of these exceptional people during this tragic time.
Submitted by: LJ Foege, colleague
My heart goes out to the families and to the extended family UW. I have had the privilege to work with Dr Bean and Med Flight. It is a great loss.
Submitted by: Kari, colleague
God bless these heroes. They will truly be missed. My heart goes out to their friends and family.
Submitted by: Amy
So sorry to hear about your loss.
Submitted by: Tara LaSovage, colleague
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these three men, the UW family, and the entire community. I had the honor of learning from Darren Bean as a part of my pediatric residency and his passion for medicine, teaching and life in general was felt by all that he touched! This loss is so difficult to comprehend, but there is comfort in knowing that our loss is heaven's gain.
Submitted by: Shannon Phifer, colleague
We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name. In life, we loved you dearly. In death, we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone; for part of us went with you, the day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories. Your love is still our guide; and though we cannot see you, you are always at our side. Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same, but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again. Rest in Peace Darren, Steve and Mark.
Submitted by: Jen Martin
Med Flight crew members are exceptional people. They helped save my dad by transporting him to Madison. I am thankful that this service is available and saddened that there was a loss to many. I believe there is a special place beyond Earth for extraordinary people who dedicate their lives to help others.
Submitted by: Luanne Jansen
The loss of these 3 very qualified and experienced medical/service personnel is a very devastating one to the Madison and area community. My heart and prayers go with their families, co-workers and all who knew and worked with them.
- Luanne Jansen
Medical Staff Office, Meriter Hospital
Submitted by: Gail Knitter
Please accept my sincere sympathy in the tragic deaths of Dr. Darren Bean, Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer. I have worked in health care for 36 years and know the dedication and commitment these individuals have given to Med Flight and the University of Wisconsin. May you all find peace in the fond memories of these people who dedicated their lives to helping people.
- Gail Knitter, Executive Secretary
Medical Affairs, Meriter Hospital
Submitted by: Sarah Norton
Anyone that risks their life to save another life is an angel on earth. Now, there are 3 very special angels in heaven. God Bless them and everyone they have touched.
Submitted by: Denny, friend, colleague
I would like to offer my condolences to the families of Mark, Darren and Steve. I was honored to know and work with Mark and Darren in the EMS community and assisted them in teaching others involved in EMS in Dane County. Their contribution to the EMS System in Dane County and the surrounding area cannot be measured since they touched so many lives in so many ways: educators, friends and co-workers. We have lost three beating hearts of the EMS structure in Dane County. They will be missed.
Submitted by: Angella
My sympathies go out to all of these individuals families, friends and colleagues.
Submitted by: Kevin
From the family at Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and friends. We hope you understand that what they were doing makes them heroes. May God look over your family in your time of need.
Member of Gundersen Lutheran Medical Team
Submitted by: Lisa
How tragic for the lost of these three dedicated EMS workers. Even though I didn't personally know any of them, as a fellow EMS provider, I know how important the job they did was. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families involved. They will be missed.
Submitted by: Rachel, friend, colleague
I grew up with Steve and can still remember him playing baseball and telling everyone that "one day I will fly." He got his wish and is now flying in heaven. And Mark, what can I say. He was my instructor and friend and I cannot believe that he is gone. He made me the EMT that I am today. Without his guidance and belief in me, I would have fallen to the wayside.
Submitted by: Mary and John Davey, colleague
Dear Danielle and Brian, Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Darren was such a wonderful son.
Submitted by: Erin, colleague
As a nurse new to the UW Emergency Department 5 months ago, Darren was one of the first staff physicians that I met. I remember that he got up out of his chair and came to me to shake my hand and introduce himself. That's how I'll remember Darren - what a class act... what a professional. The ED will not be the same without him. My heart breaks for the families of these three wonderful, brave men. May they find comfort and peace in this time of such tragedy.
Submitted by: San Bernardino County Sheriff Air Rescue
We are all so very sorry for your losses. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
- Ben Orate, AirMedic
On behalf of the Sheriff Air Rescue Team, San Bernardino, California
Submitted by: Janet George
As crew chief of Rural Medical Ambulance Service in Darlington, Wis., I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families of the Med Flight crew, and all the staff at UW Hospital and Clinics. Many of our squad members had met Dr. Bean, Nurse Coyne, and Pilot Lipperer during their trips to our local hospital; this is a loss for all of the EMS community. I hope their families and friends are comforted in knowing that these wonderful people assisted so many others in their time of need. They will truly be missed by all.
Ambulance Squad, Darlington, Wis.
Submitted by: Rachael Callcut, MD, friend, colleague
It is truly difficult for me to believe that Darren, Steve and Mark are gone. I knew all three through my work as a surgical resident, although I knew Darren and Desiree, Steve's wife, the best. I can not even really find the right words to express how deeply saddened I am that Darren, Steve and Mark have left this world much too soon. I had the fortunate pleasure to work directly with Darren on so many occasions and he was simply the best. I remember the very first time I worked with Darren during his first year at UW in 2002 and it was clear even then that he was a superstar. There are rarely individuals that you encounter throughout life who are so invigorating and have so much passion for their work. Darren was first-rate teacher, colleague and friend. His passion for excellence is something I will never forget and this was only exceeded by the passion and love he had for his family. Few people have the opportunity to know how much they touched others lives while they are still with us and it is only after they are gone that we all realize how much they meant. I am so incredibly thankful that I had two really important opportunities to tell Darren what his presence in the ER meant to so many of the surgical residents. The last was on my very last night of trauma call as a chief resident recently. I will never understand exactly why I felt the need to thank him at that particular moment for his incredible gift of friendship and mentorship during my residency, but in retrospect, so thankful that I took that moment. As all of us move forward, these incredible individuals will all remain forever in our hearts and in our minds. Their work will live on in all of us who they have touched so deeply and all the lessons that Darren has taught me will carry on in my work. My deepest sympathies to Mark's wife and Darren's family, especially his wife and children who were the light of his life, and to Desiree.
Submitted by: Vanessa Powell
My thoughts and prayers go to all family members of the victims lost in the Med Flight crash.
Submitted by: Gundersen Lutheran Pastoral Care, colleagues
While words often fall short of what one may wish to express, know that our thoughts and prayers are lifted up for the family, friends and co-workers of UW Med Flight team members Darren Bean, Mark Coyne and Steve Lipperer. They were our brothers of the emergency medical community. Theirs was a passion for life; their own and those they were called to care for. Their death came while doing a job they loved. God be with you.
Submitted by: Karen
You have my deepest sympathy. My thoughts and prayers are with each family. They are out to save lives, and their own has been taken... how tragic. God, has very special plans for them.
Gundersen Lutheran Employee
Submitted by: Caroline Offor, UW Health colleague
Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families, friends and co-workers of Mark Coyne, RN, Dr. Darren Bean and pilot Steve Lipperer. Also with UW Hospital family. It is a huge loss. Our deepest sympathy.
Submitted by: Josh
Darren, thanks for showing all of us a great example of how to be alive. You'll be missed but not forgotten.
Submitted by: Shannan
My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Submitted by: Allan Williams, RN, BSN, CFRN, EMT-P, former colleague and UW Health nurse
As a former emergency department nurse that worked at UW, I had the privilege of working with all three of these fine individuals. I worked directly with Darren and indirectly with Mark and Steve when they would fly patients into the emergency department. I was deeply saddened when I learned about this tragedy. My condolences go out to the families of Darren, Mark and Steve, especially to Steve's wife, Desiree, as I used to work with her in the emergency department as well. My thoughts are with their families, the Med Flight crew and staff at UW.
Submitted by: Betsy Klein
In November 1996, I spent three weeks in the Transplant unit at UW Hospital following a life saving liver transplant. From the lounges in the transplant unit, we were able to watch Med Flight land and take off as the helicopter pad at that time was directly below the lounge windows. Each time we watched them take off or land we always knew that they were either transporting a patient in need of serious care or they were transporting the gift of life in the form of donated organs to someone waiting there at UW. Now as a med tech when a helicopter lands at our facility, they pass through the lab on their journey to either deliver or pick up a patient. While I did not know any of the men who died in their journey to save others, I was deeply saddened to hear of their loss. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to their families. May they find comfort in knowing that they are not alone during this difficult time.
- Betsy Klein, Medical Technician
Franciscan Skemp Healthcare Lab, La Crosse, Wis.
Submitted by: Wendy Galstar
My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your families in this very tragic time. What amazing heroes these three men were and will always be in our hearts. May God bless each of you with tremendous strength and courage to help you through.
- Wendy Galstar
Gundersen Lutheran Employee
Submitted by: Mary Lee Rossmaessler
My deepest sympathy to all the families of these brave men. Med Flight has given the chance for life to many people in the state of Wisconsin. These men are to be commended for their brave service.
Submitted by: Jaime
I'm so sorry. No words I can say would ever bring you comfort. You have my condolences. You and your families are in my thoughts and prayers.
Gundersen Lutheran Employee
Submitted by: Amanda Breunig
My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have be affected by this tragedy. Especially the family and colleagues of the three victims. May they rest in peace.
Submitted by: Cathy Rabas Karll, RN, UW Health colleague
I speak for all the night nurses in UW's Trauma and Life Support Unit. Mark, your visits to us will be deeply missed. You always had time to come check on your patients that were in the ICU and you always had time for a story to tell. Your laugh and smile could calm a very stressful night and bring a few minutes of laughter to the craziness of an ICU. You will be remembered forever. May your spirit soar above the crystal blue Caribbean Seas forever!!!
- Cathy Rabas Karll, RN
UW Trauma and Life Support Unit
Submitted by: Amy
My deepest sympathy to all of the families involved in this terrible tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. May knowing that they passed together doing what they loved give you peace.
- Amy, Respiratory Therapist
Submitted by: Francie Schnur
My heart goes out to the families of these gentlemen. It's a terrible tragedy to lose a loved one at any time but to lose one so unexpectedly is even worse. These men have contributed so much to so many and we appreciate all they have done. May God bless.
Submitted by: Jeremy Van Buren, UW Health colleague
Dr. Bean was a wonderful attending to work with. He was always so apologetic when calling late at night to have me come in to the emergency department to see patients. He was a kind and caring man who really made me enjoy seeing patients of his and helping out.
- Jeremy Van Buren
Submitted by: H. Dunn, MD
We grieve for your loss.
- H. Dunn, MD
EMS, Rutland, Vermont
Submitted by: Carilion, Life-Guard 11
Thoughts and prayers to the families and co-workers during your time of tragedy. May God bless each and everyone of you.
- Carilion Clinic, Radford, Virginia
Submitted by: Donna Sollenberger, colleague
Words cannot convey the deep sense of sadness and loss that I felt when I heard on Sunday about the tragic Med Flight accident. I know that you all are trying to comprehend the loss right now. In the eight years I was at UWHC, I came to love this program and the people who dedicated their lives each time they flew. This accident reminds us of how fragile and precious life is. Steve, Mark and Darren are true heroes. Med Flight is an incredible program that has saved so many lives over its 20+ years of service to the State of Wisconsin. Each time I watched the helicopter take off and land, I would feel a sense of deep pride; I also was humbled by the dedication, compassion and service of those who serve Med Flight. This accident reminds us not only of the fragility of life, but also of the heroism of the great people involved in patient care at UW Health who selflessly put the lives of others ahead of their own each and every day. Please know I am praying for those who lost their lives, their families, and all of you at UW Health who I consider my family as well. You have my deepest sympathy. Sincerely, Donna.
- Donna Sollenberger
Former President and CEO of UW Hospital and Clinics
Submitted by: Kimberly, family
Darren (Dr. Bean) was an absolute rock star in our family. He made such a profound impact on all those he loved, worked with and gave medical assistance to. He lived a happy, rich and valiant life - although much too short. He will always be our inspiration, our guardian angel. Let your work and medical accomplishments continue to save lives! Much love to Stacey & his children and Danielle & Bryan.
- Kimberly, cousin in California
Submitted by: Joe McCullick
The Fire and EMS community will never forget the sacrifices these three men and the entire Med Flight crew face every day. In tribute to Darren Bean, Mark Coyne, and Steve Lipperer please remember the challenges all Firefighters, EMTs, Law Enforcement officers, and other emergency personnel face everyday... and please NEVER let this happen again.
- Joe McCullick
Seneca Fire Department/PDC EMS, Seneca, Wis.
Submitted by: Verna, UW Health colleague
My deepest sympathy to the families of the UW Med Flight crash. I have a nephew that was Med Flighted to Madison from near Wyocena, WI that was in a ATV accident and he is doing well today due to the quick response. Thank you.
Submitted by: Karen Arndt, colleague
To our brothers and sisters at Med Flight, we stand beside you in your grief. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all. To Mark, Steve and Darren, Godspeed and blue skies.
- Karen Arndt, President
Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association Chief Flight Nurse, UCAN
Submitted by: Kari
My deepest heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of the Med Flight crew. You will not be forgotten.
Submitted by: Mike Emmer
What a great loss to EMS in Wisconsin. One never knows when the final alarm comes in. Godspeed.
- Mike Emmer
Brownsville Fire Company, Brownsville, Wis.
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