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: Jean and Bob
As 25-plus-year veterans of EMS ourselves, we understand the enthusiasm these men shared in the service of helping others. Their loss is not in vain. We had the pleasure of training with Mark Coyne as he taught refreshers classes for EMTs. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and co workers.
- Jean and Bob
Submitted by: Jill Kietzke, UW Health colleague
What a tragedy to befall on this medical community. I am proud to be a nurse and EMT in Madison when I see us all reach out to the families of these professionals. To all who have been affected by these losses, I pray for those left behind, and I pray that you find the strength to celebrate their lives.
- Jill Kietzke, Mt. Horeb, Wis.
UW Medical Foundation
Submitted by: Jeanne
My deepest sympathy to the families, friends and colleagues of the Med Flight crew. Though I only had the opportunity to work with Darren a few times, I began to glimpse the vision he had for the city of Madison, Dane County and the surrounding communities. His enthusiasm and passion for his work has forever impacted the environment of pre-hospital care and bridged the distance gap between the rural communities and receiving hospitals. The level of care for the people of Madison, Dane County, and the surrounding areas has been taken to a whole new level by the leadership of this man and will continue to impact the lives of people for years to come and because of this, his legacy will carry on. Again my deepest sympathy.
Submitted by: Kara Sarbacker, UW Health colleague
My thoughts and prayers are with all of the families affected by this tragedy. Although I knew none of the flight crew members, I can only imagine what the families must be going through. Know that everyone here at UW is thinking and praying for you all. We thank you for all their hard work and sacrifices through out the years.
- Kara Sarbacker
UW Hospital and Clinics
Submitted by: Joni, RN
Bless the family and friends of this medical team as they passed performing the duties they were so dedicated to.
- Joni, RN
Gundersen Lutheran, La Crosse, Wis.
Submitted by: Sandy Miller, WHNP FNP, friend
Writing this brings tears. I have had nearly 12 years of knowing Mark and working with him when he would transfer patients from our ED. What a wonderful person. I also was acquainted with Dr. Bean and pilot Lipperer. They will all be sadly missed. I am always grateful for the assistance of the Med Flight Crew. Our prayers go out to the family and the entire UW staff.
- Sandy Miller, WHNP FNP
Reedsburg Area Med Center and Physicians Group
Submitted by: Kristine Abrahamson
My deepest sympathy goes out to the families of the Med Flight Crew. They died serving others and in my mind that makes them heroes. I will keep them and their grieving families in my prayers.
- Kristine Abrahamson, Onalaska, Wis.
Gundersen Lutheran Industrial Rehabilitation Center
Submitted by: Rita Bortz
I have the utmost respect for the dedicated staff that travels with and flies the Med Flight helicopter. My husband was taken to Meriter in 2000 by Med Flight after suffering a heart attack and he still remembers that day. He said the crew was so professional, yet caring and kind and made his journey less frightening. My prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of these three brave people.
- Ria Bortz
Submitted by: Kevin Wheelock, PA-C, RN
My sincere condolences to the families and friends of these true heroes, as well as to the UW Med Flight program. I used to work at UWHC and then in the ED at St. Mary's and would chat with the flight crew when they would bring us patients - nothing but the utmost of professionals. They have made the ultimate sacrifice.
- Kevin Wheelock, PA-C, RN
Scott and White Neurosurgery, Temple, Texas
Submitted by: Brandi Withrow, UW Health colleague
On November 14, 2006 Med Flight responded to an accident that involved my mother, 18-month-old daughter and my sister. I am not sure without their prompt action/transport what the outcome would be. We as a family are forever grateful for what the Med Flight team did for our family. Our deepest sympathy goes out to their family, friends and co-workers.
- Brandi Withrow
UW Medical Foundation
Submitted by: David, colleague
"The Emergency Providers Prayer" Before I step into my rig, let me put your mind at ease, Our response will be swift and with due regard. Then bless me, Lord, and we'll be on our way. Lights and siren breaking the waves. Be that light that shines in our time of dismay; and help me get there without any delays. Be the first crew in and safely guide the way for those that follow. Let my eyes foresee the dangers and while lending a helping hand. If I should meet with misfortune along the way. Be reassured in knowing, my colleagues will be just footsteps away. Helping me through the memory-filled past into my next action, applying what I have learned from experience and instruction. Touch me to lift my spirits I pray in Jesus' name. Direct me by guiding my hand and help apply my skills. Until we get where the level of care is greater still. Exhausted on the ride home or to our next call. Sleep is overrated and my rest will come when you give me my last call. - by David White
Submitted by: Sheila Hanson, UW Health colleague
My deepest sympathy to the families that lost these wonderful caring people. My thoughts and prayers are with with you.
- Sheila Hanson, UW Health-Mount Horeb
UW Medical Foundation
Submitted by: Lisa Schroeder, UW Health colleague
To the three brave men who lost their lives, saving others. We will never forget the countless acts of heroism each time you responded to life and death emergencies. Peace and comfort to your families.
- Lisa Schroeder, UW Health-Mount Horeb
UW Medical Foundation
Submitted by: Arthur M. Jamison
I would like to take the time and offer my condolence to all of the families of the tragic accident. I worked with Darren and his wife as a secretary in the emergency department during his residency. My heart felt prayers goes out to all of them may god continue to watch them doing this trying time Darren is surely going to be missed by us all.
- Arthur M. Jamison
Secretary, Carolinas Healthcare, Charlotte, North Carolina
Submitted by: Andrew Chang
I just learned of the terrible loss of the UW Med Flight crew. Please relay our condolences to the families of Mr. Lipperer, Mr. Coyne and Dr. Bean. My appreciation goes to all the health professionals, pilots and crew of UW Med Flight for their courage and commitment.
- Andrew Chang
University of Michigan, Section of Thoracic Surgery
Submitted by: Dr. Melissa Stiles and Dr. Kathleen Walsh, colleagues
Our hearts go out to the spouses and families of Darren, Steve, and Mark. Madison can sometimes seem like a large city, but in essence it is a small, tight-knit community and we all care about one another. Between us, we have had the good fortune of knowing all three - each one had a distinct personality that had such a positive impact on patient care and education. Family medicine residents had the opportunity to work directly with Darren and Mark in the ER and their feedback was always positive. Darren was always a pleasure to work with on call, first at St. Mary's and then at UW. When transferring patients from Monroe Hospital, Med Flight is an essential part of our health care community - we always know we are in good hands when we call Med Flight. Darren, Mark, and Steve touched so many lives and will be greatly missed. You are in our thoughts and prayers... Kathleen and Melissa
Submitted by: Tina Carpenter, UW Health colleague
Although I did not know these three wonderful men, I can only imagine the pain their families are feeling right now. My unit is adjacent to the rooftop helipad, so every time I hear "big bird" (my pet name for Med Flight) coming and going I will think of these great men. My condolences go out to the families of Dr. Bean, Mark Coyne, RN and Steve Lipperer, and also to the family of the patient that they had transported to Gunderson Lutheran. My thoughts and prayers are with you all forever.
- Tina Carpenter
UW Hospital JUC
Submitted by: Mike and Carol Alvin, friend, colleague and patient
Our prayers go out to the families of Mark, Darren, and Steve. Mike and I know the how these fine individuals made a profound difference in many people's lives. As colleagues they inspired us to do our best. As care givers, they were there when Mike needed them to get out of harms way after his accident. We know now that Mark, Darren, and Steve will always have clear skies and tail winds in their journeys and hope that they will look down fondly on their colleagues when the courageous Med Flight team goes back into the sky to once again make the difference between life and death.
Submitted by: Glenn Lyden
Our sincerest condolences during this tragic time. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all - Dr. Darren, Mark and Steve, their families and the entire Med Flight/UW Team. We serve together and we hurt together when something like this happens to our bretheren. We support you all.
- Glenn Lyden
Mayo One Helicopter, Mayo Clinic Medical Transport
Submitted by: Angie
I always thought of these men and women who are on these helicopters as angels in the sky. Now they are truly angels in the sky! My heartfull condolences to all. May God help you in this very sad time.
Submitted by: Tom, UW Health colleague
While not directly knowing these three men, I have had the honor of caring for many patients brought through the operating room doors by Med Flight. The service that these men and the Med Flight program bring to the citizens of the state of Wisconsin is exemplary. As a direct result of their dedication to patient care, many citizens of this state lead healthy and happy lives.
Submitted by: Marci Procter, RN, UW Health colleague
My thoughts and prayers are with Darren, Mark, Steve, and their families. God bless you. You will be truly missed.
Submitted by: Katie D., UW Health colleague
My heart goes out to the families and my fellow co-workers struggling to find peace after this tragedy. God bless all of you!
Submitted by: Greg Breen
The Southwest Regional Trauma Advisory Council would like to express their condolences in the tragic loss of the UW Med Flight crew. God bless all of you for all the lives you have saved and have touched over your many years of service.
- Greg Breen
Coordinator, Southwest Regional Trauma Advisory Council
So sad you were all taken from this world so early. You are all heroes and will greatly be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends who you all held dear to your hearts.
Thanks so much for all you do. My prayers are with all the families and friends. It is a hard job, but you are brave souls.
Submitted by: Kae, LaCrosse
My heart goes out to all the family members of the Flight crew. While I don't know any of them, the job that they did was truly awesome. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Submitted by: Anne Kelley
My hearfelt condolences to the friends, families and colleagues of these individuals. What a tragedy to lose such dedicated individuals in this extraordinary accident.
- Anne Kelley
Jeffrey Cichocki, colleague, former Medlink Air crew member
I met Mark on several occasions over the years. Always very helpful. The medevac community is very small and tight knit, my heart goes out to all who are suffering from this huge loss. I am sure these very dedicated, unselfish people died doing exactly what they lived for and would have it no other way.
Amy, colleague and student
My heart was saddened when I heard about this awful tragedy. As an EMT I've been on several scenes in which we've required Med Flight's services and have always been inspired by the staff. I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Bean when I was a patient in the ER (thankfully for nothing serious). I also had Mark as a teacher when I was taking the EMS courses and then had the honor of working with him for a couple of years afterwards at MATC. Although I did not personally know Steve, I have no doubts his spirit was that of his colleagues. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of each of these brave and dedicated souls, as well as that of the Med Flight family.
Submitted by: Marguerite
My prayers are with the families of the members of the Med Flight crew. Your family members are angels in heaven. May God bless you and help you through this hard time.
Submitted by: Katie Doebert, UW Health colleague
I am a nursing student and CNA at UW Hospital, and I have occasionally floated down to the ED when help is needed there. A few months ago, Dr. Bean was about to do a procedure I had never seen before. He asked me if I would like to watch and assist him. I replied "I'd love to, but I'm just a CNA." I said this in case he thought I was a medical student, or someone more qualified to be involved with this sort of thing. He looked at me with a gleam in his eyes and replied with a smile, "Don't say you are just a CNA" and he invited me in the room. He explained to the patient what was about to happen, and I watched him treat the patient. The patient was put to sleep for a few minutes during the procedure, and it was a success; the patient's problem was fixed. Dr. Bean's passion and care for this patient touched me and renewed my energy and perseverance to excel in school and learn as much as I can. A few weeks later, I was trained in CCR at the EMS service I work for, and Dr. Bean's name was on the PowerPoint as the MFD Medical Director and co-author of the training. I proudly stated to my fellow EMTs "I worked with him at UW a few days ago. He is one of the nicest doctors I've ever met!" Working that night in the ED convinced me to take the EMT-IV class so I can work in the ED more regularly. I start the class June 18. The impression Dr. Bean left on me professionally in only a few hours of working with him is something I will never forget. My heartfelt condolences go out to the families of Darren, Mark, and Steve as well as their colleagues who worked side-by-side with them day after day. I can't begin to imagine what you are going through. God bless you all.
Submitted by: Jo McCooley
To the family, friends, and colleagues of the UW Med Flight crew members: I am a medical transcriptionist and I transcribe for UW. I did not know these men personally, but was saddened nonetheless when I heard about what happened. What brave and wonderful souls they must have been. God bless them and God bless all of you too.
- Jo McCooley
Submitted by: Kirsten Menningen, patient
It is a heartfelt loss for our community and they will be deeply missed. As a mother of a child with multiple medical issues and a "frequent flyer" to UW, it was a reassuring feeling knowing Dr. Bean was in the ER. My fondest memory was last October when my 5-year-old son was leaving the ER and having him shout across the room, "Thank you Dr. Bean for making me feel better" and then finding him amongst all the white coats and giving him a big hug. He made a difference and he cared and for that we will be forever grateful.
Submitted by: Paul Lindgren, colleague, former Med Flight crew member
As a former member of the Med Fight family, my heartfelt condolences go out to the families of Steve, Darren and Mark. I had the honor of working with all three of these dedicated men. They will be greatly missed. To the Med Flight family, my thoughts and prayers are with each one of you. I will look forward to celebrating the lives of these brave men with you. May God grant each of the family members, friends and co-workers the peace and comfort that surpasses all understanding.
Submitted by: Ronnie Simpson, former co-worker
My sincere sympathy to the families of the staff of UW Med Flight. To Stacey Bean, Caitlyn and Parker, my deepest sympathy. I worked with both Darren and Stacey while they did their residency here in Charlotte at Carolinas Medical Center. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
- Ronnie Simpson
Carolinas Medical Center
Submitted by: Sue
What a tragic loss for your hospital and community. We have a daughter working at the UW facility and are praying for all of you, families and staff.
Submitted by: Janice
My prayers and sympathies go out to Mark Hanson and the Med Flight crew. I worked for the hospital for thirty plus years and was awed whenever Med Flight went out.
Submitted by: Meaghan Loy, student
Mark Coyne was an amazing EMT instructor, and I will forever be grateful for the knowledge he shared with me. I am one of the many, many candles that he lit and I know his work helped make our EMS family what it is today. My thoughts go out to Mark's family as well as those of Dr. Bean and Steve.
- Meaghan Loy
Submitted by: Dawn, UW Health colleague
What a huge loss to the Madison community and beyond. The care and dedication that these three exceptional people provided Madison and beyond was exceptional and will be greatly missed.
Submitted by: Jeannina and Cosmin Dobrescu, friend and colleague
We are deeply saddened to hear of the falling of these bright stars. Darren will always be remembered for his great passion, enthusiasm and dedication. In the words of Henry Adams, "a teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops." Desiree, as a fellow newlywed my heart breaks for you. Our deepest condolences to you, and all the family and friends of these outstanding men.
- Jeannina and Cosmin Dobrescu
University of Michigan
Submitted by: Lynn Rindfleisch
Although I never had the honor of meeting Darren, Mark or Steve, I was dismayed to hear of their passing and am writing to extend my deepest sympathies to all of the Med Flight crew and their families. I hope that the memories you have built will help you to get through this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
- Lynn Rindfleisch, who had two friends transported to UW Hospital via Med Flight
Submitted by: Staff of the University of Wisconsin Emergency Education Center (formerly the EMS Program)
To all of our Emergency Medical Services family who mourn the loss of three of our colleagues: Together, we celebrate the remarkable lives of three of us whose lives were cut too short and mourn our losses and the sorrow and pain of their loved ones. We are committed to respond to those who cry out for help because we care for their precious lives more than our own. We accept the everyday risks to come to their aid and to comfort them. We do what has to be done and give even more. Each of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice knew the risks every time they participated in a mission. They risked their lives for a nobler cause. We all will miss them and will comfort each other. We celebrate their lives, their cause, and their extraordinary love for their fellow human beings. At this sorrow-filled time, we remember them, their commitment, and their love. We miss them and will use their lives and their sacrifice to continue in their footsteps.
Submitted by: Katharyn May
On behalf of the faculty, staff and students in the School of Nursing, please know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers. The work you do touches so many lives in such powerful ways. We hope you take comfort in that knowledge and great pride in the dedication of your friends and colleagues, lost but never forgotten.
- Katharyn May
UW-Madison School of Nursing
Submitted by: Peggy Westra
I was honored to do an ambulance transport with Mark Coyne on April 27th from Beaver Dam Community Hospital. Mark saw the look in my eyes that something was wrong when I walked into the trauma room. I told him the patient we are transporting with critical spinal injuries was a close friend and this is my first patient that I was friends with. Mark told me, "You know what to do and so do it, and you can think about it later." This got me thru the ambulance transport. I only met Mark twice but I found him to be a professional, talented nurse.
- Peggy Westra
Beaver Dam Fire/EMS Department
Submitted by: Susan Brusveen
I did not know any of the people involved in this accident; but, I do appreciate all that Med Flight does as our son was Med Flighted about nine years ago after a four-wheeler accident. We didn't know if he would make it to the hospital or through the night; but, thanks to all emergency personnel he is now fine and even getting married next year. It was a long haul, but it was made easier by the help of all at UW Hospital and Clinics. My thanks to you all and my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of those three people who lost their lives on this flight.
- Susan Brusveen
Submitted by: Tricia Pelkey, RN
May God bless the flight crew, their families, friends, colleagues, and all involved. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
- Tricia Pelkey, RN (previously worked in the UW Hospital ER)
San Francisco, California
Submitted by: Benjamin Crow
Hi everyone. Ben here. In summer of 2006 Juli Aulik and staff gifted me with a wonderful tour of the UW Madison Hospital facilities. As a pilot with a love for aviation, and it was a real honor to meet the flight department folks. They are a great bunch, greeting me with nothing but friendly smiles. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve when we were up there and he gave me a tour of the Augusta 109 helicopters owned at the time. As someone who would like to get into helicopter flying (money-pending), he answered my questions with great knowledge, with a very professional quality about him, don't let his "coyote ugly" hat throw you off. :) (I will never forget that) Steve shedded new light on a different side of aviation I previously thought was unattainable. He told me he flew heli's for oil rigs to build flight time. Never thought of that... usually most heli pilots come from the military. Chopper flying can be dangerous, but Steve and his wonderful, dedicated crew of Darren Bean, and Mark Coyne gave their lives doing something they loved to do, no questions about it. No one said that being part of a Med Flight crew was easy, or without its risks, but it is an endeavor these men did day in and day out for others. You only get one chance at life, how you live it is up to you. These men chose to dedicate themselves so others can have that chance. And that is admirable. Here's to you guys. You will be deeply missed.
- Benjamin Crow
University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND
Submitted by: Brian and Terri (Ebert) Callahan, former UW employees
As former cath lab employees at UW, Terri and I wish to convey our thoughts and prayers to the families of those lost, and to our extended family of fine health professionals at UW Hospital. God Bless all of you. To the whole Med Flight family, you guys are the best bar none!
- Brian and Terri (Ebert) Callahan
Submitted by: Kathy
When Med Flight was temporarily based at the Middleton airport, my husband and I took our two young sons out there in hopes of seeing the helicopter. As luck would have it, Steve Lipperer was there. He came right over and talked to our two boys and answered their long list of questions. When we left, we were struck by his generosity and sincerity. When we realized he was part of the crew, we were deeply saddended. He touched our lives in those few minutes. I can only imagine the countless other times he has done the same for so many. Blessings to Steve, Mark and Darren's families. You are in our thoughts and prayers.