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American Family Children's Hospital

Postings 501-550: 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: Steve Braun, colleague
It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that our emergency medical community learned of the tragic accident involving a University of Wisconsin Med Flight crew earlier this week. The loss hits especially close to home knowing that Med Flight had been in Grant County only a few hours before the crash, to assist at the site of a motorcycle accident near Platteville and transport a patient back to Madison. I'm not so sure many people realize the depth of the role that Med Flight plays in our own EMS system here in Grant County. In addition to transporting critical patients from local hospitals, they often respond to accident scenes to aid our local ambulance providers with treating and transporting critically injured patients. Our emergency responders rely on this vital service as a means to bring advanced-level care immediately to the scene. In many cases, based on information obtained by the 911 center about a call or accident, our area EMS services get the helicopter in the air before they even arrive on an emergency scene. We in EMS have a great respect for the Med Flight crews and the critical service that the program provides to our communities. The flight crews consistently are called to the worst-of-the-worst trauma and medical calls, and the skills and advanced level of care that they are able to bring with them really does make a profound difference. If there is someone out there saving lives each and every day in our region, it's those flight crews. The accident has weighed heavily on many of the EMS providers and other health care professionals throughout our communities, who work with Med Flight and hold them in the highest regard. In many ways we feel that we lost three of our own this week. Our thoughts are with the families of the crew, as well as their colleagues and friends throughout the region.
- Steve Braun
Grant County EMS Association
Submitted by: Jeremy Bina, colleague
For the everyday heroes that are sometimes forgotten, I thank you, the flight team for all that you do for the patients that you care for. My thoughts and prayers go out to these heroes' families and the Madison community.
- Jeremy Bina
Past Member of Gundersen Lutheran's Specialty Care Transport Team
Submitted by: Jean
My deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Dr. Darren Bean, Mark Coyne, RN, and pilot Steve Lipperer. I had met Dr. Bean as a patient in the UW Health emergency room. He was a very kind man and a wonderful doctor. He made sure that I knew everything that was going on and explained the procedures in full. He was also very reassuring with his diagnosis. He will be missed greatly by all who have had the privilege to meet him. I never met Mark Coyne, RN, or Steve Lipperer the pilot, but every time I either heard or saw Med Flight in the sky, I found comfort knowing that these heroes, including Dr. Bean, were in our community saving lives of people who needed them the most to survive their situations. Dr. Darren Bean, Mark Coyne, RN, and pilot Steve Lipperer, thank you for giving of yourselves to the community and making a difference in the lives of so many people. You are all heroes in my book. You will be missed by many. May God bless you all! My prayers are with each family and the friends and colleagues who knew them well. Again, thank you for being our angels in the sky!
Submitted by: Nancy U'Ren, friend, colleague
Mark, I will miss your smile and your dedication to helping others. You and Dr. Bean and Steve Lipperer were truly dedicated to saving lives. My deepest sympathy goes out to your families and friends. If our world had more people like you, there wouldn't be so many problems in our world! God be with you!
Submitted by: Milad, student
I very well remember Dr. Bean. I was on my neurology rotation and was in the ER with a patient who had had a stroke. He was very calmly asking me questions and took the time to explain how to manage a stroke patient even though he was not my attending. He very much enjoyed teaching, and I will always remember him.
Submitted by: Greg LaMay, colleague
As a former member of Wisconsin EMS, I had both the pleasure and the opportunity to meet and get to know Mark Coyne and Darren Bean. Darren was an inspiration to the EMS community from the physician level and Mark was very passionate about making sure quality EMS people were trained out there on the front lines. Both of these individuals, as well as Mr. Lipperer, will be missed, and there is now a hole that needs to be filled in regards to care and education of pre-hospital people in the EMS community. My condolences to the families and friends of Darren, Mark and Steve, and especially to the current crews that make UW Med Flight what it is, a very special group of people whose hearts are low right now, but will heal over time.
Submitted by: Sigurd Gundersen, colleague
My prayers are with you all during this tragic time. Their service to their patients and profession will be remembered.
Submitted by: Cindy Calogero, whose niece and nephew both work at UW Health
What a tragedy to lose three bright, talented, and caring young people. I have two relatives who work at UW Health, and not only are friends and employees there affected by this, we are at Gunderson Lutheran in LaCrosse, also. Condolences to all the family members and employees of UW Health.
Submitted by: Chris Bentheimer, friend and former classmate of Steve Lipperer
My deepest sympathy goes out to the family, friends and colleagues of the three men of the Med Flight crew. Although I did not personally know Dr. Bean or Nurse Coyne I have known Steve since grade school, as he was a classmate and friend of mine. I also had several opportunities in the field to see him as the pilot when we had need for Med Flight for transport from a scene. After a tragedy like this, it makes one realize how precious life is. These men knew this and did what it took to preserve it for many, many people. You are missed and God bless you.
Submitted by: Robert S., friend and colleague
I just want to express my condolences to all family and friends of the Med Flight. I cannot begin to comprehend the feelings of sadness and loss that you are feeling at this time. I'm a member of the Onalaska Fire Department that helped search for your loved ones from beginning to end. Believe me when I say that I too am hurting because of your loss. Although it's hard to explain, I won't soon forget the range of emotions that I went through on that fateful night. I only wish that we could have done more and brought them back to you. Please know that my brothers and I did all that we could do and we consider Darren, Steve and Mark brothers as well. That night, we lost one of our own, because bonds formed in peril cannot be broken. For the fallen would not want us to grieve, but celebrate their lives lived. They would not want us to feel pain and sorrow, but instead they would want us to move forward and remember the joy and happiness that they brought to our lives. To the fallen crew - although I did not know you, you were my brothers. I will never forget you. Until we meet again...Godspeed.
- Robert S.
Onalaska Fire Department
Submitted by: Dave
As a memebr of one of the departments that responded to the call for help, I wish to extend my condolences to the families for their loss. It is very tragic that this crew lost their lives doing something that is very important to the communities that we serve. The send-off of the crew from La Crosse back to Madison today was a very moving experience. It was nice to see all of the onlookers lining the route that was taken to the interstate. I noticed as we passed them a lot of them were crossing their hearts, which was a very fitting way to send these heroes back to Madison for their final arrangements. Once again, my condolences to the families and God bless.
- Dave
Onalaska Fire Department
Submitted by: Amy Becker
Hello, I am a nurse at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital. I cannot express my sorrow enough for the Med Flight crew members who lost their lives helping others. They are true heroes in the eyes of many. My prayers are with you all. May God give you strength during this difficult time.
- Amy Becker, RN
Gundersen Lutheran Hospital
Submitted by: Charleen Menzel, colleague
Stacy, I'm so sorry to hear about Darren. I always loved working with you and Darren at CMC. You will be in my prayers.
Submitted by: Joseph Hummel, D.O.
On behalf of New Jersey's Gemstar Airmed program, please accept our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the Med Flight crew.
- Joseph Hummel
Gemstar Airmed, New Jersey
Submitted by: Lisa, colleague and friend
Dr. Darren Bean, your enthusiasm for the medical field and your zest for life were contagious to everyone around you. You always had a smile on your face and an abounding amount of energy. You made a tremendous impact in your short life here with us. You were an incredible man! I cannot believe that you are gone.
Submitted by: Jerry Collins, colleague
The last time I saw Darren was last Wednesday at our monthly STEMI committee meeting. It was classic Dr. Bean. He made sure, by going around the table, that everyone had an opportunity to comment or discuss problems. He listened. He didn't judge. He didn't criticize. He listened. And he looked for input from everyone to guarantee continued success. He conducted the meeting with a smile and a positive "can do" attitude. God, he will be missed!
Submitted by: Susan Torhorst, MD, colleague
To all of the family, friends, and coworkers of those individuals lost in this tragedy, please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss. I cannot begin to comprehend the sorrow you must all be feeling. The dedication and love that these three men gave to this community is not to be superseded by anything. I have had the good fortune to work with Dr. Bean and Mark Coyne on a number of occasions and have always been most impressed with their knowledge, kindness, and spirit of selflessness. They will be incredibly missed by this entire community. God be with all of you as you struggle to understand and find peace.
Submitted by: Scott Dixon, colleague
As an employee of UWHC, I did get the chance to meet all three of these fine gentlemen. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Steve, Darren and Mark. Your absence is felt by all here at UW and we will always remember you and your thoughtfulness.
Submitted by: Terrianna Morgan
My heart and prayers go out to the families of the crash. Although I didn't know them personally, they were true patriots of the medical field.
Submitted by: Stephan Myers, area business owner
I would just like to offer my condolences to the families of these three heroic individuals who risked their lives to save ours on a daily basis. I had seen Med Flight in action just a few weeks ago just outside Lodi where they transported a seriously burned auto accident patient. I was in awe as the aircraft landed in a very small parking lot on a clear, but windy Sunday morning. I hope this tragedy will ensure all of the latest technologies are on board these helicopters in the future.
Submitted by: Ellen, colleague
The pride and dedication of the Med Flight program is impressive to anyone who has had any contact with them, no matter how small. May your memories of these three amazing individuals provide some comfort in the days ahead.
Submitted by: Joseph Balsitis
On 01-09-08 my wife, Mary, was flown from Janesville to Madison. Darren and Steve were both there that day. I was amazed to see them all work together to get Mary ready for her flight. Our families' prayers go out to them.
Submitted by: Deborah Daniel, UW Health colleague
My heart hurts for this terrible loss. Countless times I have heard the unmistakable sound of Med Flight landing, taking off, flying overhead, and each time I send them a wave and a silent thank you. Fly on brothers. Thanks for all you did. We'll miss you every day.
- Deborah Daniel
Dept. Assistant, Cardiopulmonary Transplant
Submitted by: Emily Dolan
I work in the health care field and strive one day to be as respected as these individuals! It breaks my heart that these three men who worked so hard to save the precious gift of life had to die this way! I really have so much respect for anyone who does Med Flight or EMS of any kind because they really see the worst of the worst and it is very sad that three prominent people in this community have lost their lives!
Submitted by: Ellie Golestanian, friend and colleague
Darren, Steve and Mark - you were the embodiment of compassionate professionalism. Darren, your dedication, enthusiasm and passion in the care you provided your patients and effort you put forth in improving their care was unsurpassed. You will be profoundly missed. I hope that your contributions as a leader and your selflessness as a physician will be honored in the "Darren Bean Chest Pain Center" in the near future and for the years to come.
Submitted by: Jody Neilson, friend and colleague
Mark was a great teacher and became a person that I consider a friend. I did not get a chance to see him the last several years but will miss greatly the smile and the stories. He loved what he did and was very good at it. His legacy will live on in the thousands of peoples lives that he has touched over the years. To his family, I want to say thank you for sharing him with all of us.
Submitted by: Chris Jaggi, Brodhead, Wis.
I was very saddened to learn of the UW Med Flight crash. On December 1, 1987 I was traumatically injured in a car accident and was flown by Med Flight from Monroe Clinic Hospital to UW Hospital where I spent the four and one-half months recovering from a head injury. I have no memory of my flight but before I left the hospital in April 1988, the Med Flight crew presented me with my own very special Med Flight T-shirt, which I still have to this day. My deepest sympathies and prayers go out to all the families. The UW Hospital has lost such a special part of their family.
Submitted by: Barbara Rayes
We send our prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Bean, Mark Coyne, and Steve Lipperer. Peace.
- Barbara Rayes
Medical Interpreter Project at Phoenix Children's Hospital
Submitted by: Willacy County EMS
Our thoughts go out to all family, coworkers, and friends with deepest sympathy.
- Willacy County EMS,
Submitted by: Sue Rogers, colleague
The members of this Med Flight crew were a part of our UW "family." Their loss has left a big hole in our hearts. We are fortunate to have an exceptional staff of professionals at UW Hospital, but the folks who take on this line of work are the cream of the crop. To those of you that serve on the Med Flight team, thank you. Know that you do not mourn alone.
Submitted by: Alex Malone
Words can never do enough to comfort the families and loved ones of such everyday heroes. We simply wanted you to know our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
- K. Alexander Malone, MD
On behalf of Mercy Air 7 (Las Vegas), 11 (Boulder City), and 21 (Pahrump) in Nevada
Submitted by: Anna Haemel, colleague
Darren Bean was a wonderful teacher, doctor, and person. He had a contagious energy and enthusiasm, and he could make me smile even when I was doing my 10th admission at 6:15 am. On my ER rotation, he spent a lot of time teaching me the practicalities of airway management and recommending articles and books he had found helpful. He took an interest in teaching that few can match and made a lasting impression on me and many other learners. It is so hard to believe he is gone, as I have such clear mental images of him in the ER doing what he loved. We will never forget him and send our sincerest condolences to his family and the families of the other members of the team.
Submitted by: Lynnie
This week has been especially difficult. I lost my only child a few years ago. He was 17 years old and drowned in the Mississippi in Harpers Ferry, Iowa. The anniversary of his passing was May 8. Then I heard of the Med Flight accident. (I am a nurse also ). My heart goes out to their families. My son passed away much too young. These men also were very young. We never know the "why" of something like this happening. By the wonderful things that I have read about these men, I guess that I have one wish and that's when they entered Heaven's gates, my son was there to meet them. They are heroes.
Submitted by: Mary A., friend and colleague
As this sad day continues, I take comfort in some of the last words I heard from Mark. I first met him in the PICU in 1984 and our paths have crossed many times since then. As we caught up yet again two weeks ago and I asked him how everything was he gave his characteristic grin and said, "I'm living the good life!" We parted with smiles and "take care." I believe Mark, Darren and Steve are in good hands now, and will be lovingly remembered by many.
Submitted by: Chuck, colleague
I would like to express my sorrow at the loss of your flight crew. It is always tragic to lose such great professionals. I have met two of them on a few occasions and will miss chatting with them when I am dropping off patients at UW. Your families are in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless and comfort you all.
- Chuck
Eagle III Captain, Green Bay, Wis.
Submitted by: Name not provided, friend and colleague
Darren was a colleague, mentor, and friend to me since his arrival in 2002 and I simply can not believe he is gone. Every person he ever met instantly felt like his friend. He was so passionate about his work, but I came to know that his greatest joy in life was his family. He was everything you would want in a role mode and he represented excellence in every sense of the word. Like many, my life is better for having had the opportunity to know him. That exemplifies why this tragedy has touched so many. The three involved who lost their lives in this tragedy have reached far and wide with their talents and truly made the most amazing difference in too numerous ways to count. They were all tremendous people and superstars in their own way. My heartfelt sympathies to their families, and I hope that as time passes that all of these tributes and memories can somehow ease the unbelievable pain of losing them.
Submitted by: Anna Graham
All of us at Air Care Team, Orlando Regional Healthcare are praying for the friends and families of this horrendous tragedy. As fellow nurses, paramedics and pilots, we will always keep you in our memories.
- Anna Graham
Air Care Team, Orlando Regional Healthcare
Submitted by: Cat DeLao
My grandson and I were at the hospital visiting when the inquisitive 4-year-old saw the Med Flight chopper. Mr. Lipperer noticed him and called us over and let Tyler look inside and told him about the chopper. Tyler was thrilled and I was so grateful that he took the time to give a little boy such a thrilling "tour." God bless you all and the families involved. These people worked to save lives and lost theirs in the act of doing good. Heaven is lucky to have these "flying angels!"
Submitted by: Becky Wiatrok
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the dedicated Med Flight crew that lost their lives in this traumatic event. Had it not been for UW Med Flight, I would have lost my life while suffering from bacterial meningitis.
Submitted by: David Gerhard, friend, colleague and student
Dr. Bean was one in a million. He was the most incredible teacher and individual. I will always remember his energy and positive nature. His spirit and love of his profession was infectious. He made me want to be a better doctor. My thoughts go out to his family and UW.
Submitted by: Name not provided, colleague
There are no adequate words. This is a small prayer - Shakespeare. "And when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun." The Greeks ask one thing of a man when he dies - did he live his life with passion? Dr. Bean and Mark - that you did. It was a privilege in this lifetime.
Submitted by: Marge Bils
All the families, friends and co-workers of Darren, Mark and Steve have my sincere condolences. You will be in my thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. I worked with Mark in the PICU many years ago. He was always very upbeat, sometimes sassy, but always ready to give his best to patients and his co-workers.
Submitted by: Elizabeth (Couchene) Hebl, MD, colleague
Dr. Bean was one of the best Emergency Medicine teachers I had as a resident in Madison, both at the University and at St. Mary's. He calmed our nervous fears as young physicians just starting out. He was always not only a kind physician but a great role model. I hope his legacy lives on in those he taught.
Submitted by: Trav, colleague and friend
The WI EMS community has taken a major blow. Many lives have been deeply touched by these 3 individuals, not only patients/family/friends but also students of their craft. They will truly be missed.
Submitted by: Marian Walles
This is a terrible tragedy. When our young son was seriously injured last summer while out on the Wisconsin River, a UW Med Flight team helped save his life. Although it was a different crew, this does not lessen the impact that this news has had on us. It feels as if a member of our own family has died. The Med Flight members were dedicated professionals who truly cared about their patients, visiting with our son and ourselves in the hospital after the accident. They were amazing. I'm certain that this team touched many lives, and they would have been able to help so many more. We are so saddened, and we offer up our thoughts and prayers to the families and colleagues of the team.
Submitted by: John Hanrahan, friend and colleague
I knew Darren first as a medical assistant at our clinic here in Park City, UT. He came back to work with me as a medical student, and his wife worked with my wife. Darren was so full of life and energy and passion. Our hearts go out to Stacey and family, and the families of the other 2 heroes. We will hold Darren in our hearts and hold him up as a wonderful model for our own children.
- John Hanrahan
Park City, Utah
Submitted by: Laura Tobin
I cried Sunday morning when I heard the news of this tragic loss of lives even though I don't have any personal connection with any of the individuals. Their generosity made it possible for a Gundersen Lutheran patient to be transported to a facility where they could receive the care needed when our own flight crew was handling another local emergency. The families, friends and colleagues of these brave souls are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless all of you!
Submitted by: Wendy, UW Health colleague

I personally didn't know these three men. I have seen them on occasion, walking through the halls of the hospital, as one cannot ignore the electric blue uniforms or white jackets that are worn with so much pride. On a daily basis these staff members of UW Health created an almost magic energy to uphold life saving services. Comfort can be found knowing they will live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who knew them, or knew their work. All I can say is that here at UW Health, no matter what position we hold, we all have one common goal and that is the care of our patients. Some people, like our Med Flight team, know the risks involved whenever they get a call - yet they do it anyway. When one risks their life to save that of another without giving it a second thought, that's a hero. On 05/10/2008, UW Health, our patients, and our surrounding communities lost three heroes.
Submitted by: Becki Skaro, student
My heart goes out to the family and colleagues of the Med Flight crew, these gentlemen were the epitome of what it means to be in Emergency Medicine. As a student of Mark Coyne's, I am proud to say that I learned from the best. Darren, Mark and Steve will always be "everyday heroes" and they will never be forgotten. God only takes the best!
Submitted by: Francesca Ortmeier
My heart goes out to all of the friends and families of the three Med Flight crew members. You are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you.
- Francesca Ortmeier, Nurse
Gundersen Lutheran Hospital
Read More Postings: Tribute to the Med Flight Crew
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