Our Facebook story of the day on a helicopter for Marquette General Hospital received a much larger number of votes than the other two stories we had suggested.
MGH does not, in fact, have its own helicopter for medical airlifts. It's something hospital administrators have been looking into for about the last ten years.
Feasibility studies have determined that weather restrictions are the biggest reason why the hospital owning its own helicopter and flight team would not be as effective as relying on ground transfers and the occasional helicopter airlift from another agency.
Other reasons include a lack of space for a landing area and the issue of hospital windows not being able to withstand the wind gusts that would be created by the helicopter.
"To have a helicopter land here, where we could take the patient off and immediately into our emergency department, we would have to have something that was adjacent. It could not be near those current windows," said Alyson Sunberg of Safety, Risk Management & Compliance. "It would have to be in an area, that we could secure safely, that no other pedestrian traffic or vehicular traffic could come anywhere near that landing zone would be, and it would have to be safe enough when we know it's always open and available."
Right now, Lakeview Arena is the designated landing zone for all helicopter medical airlifts. Patients are then transported by ground the remaining few blocks to the hospital.
Also, the roof of the hospital is not strong enough to withstand the weight of a helicopter, but administrators are seriously considering restructuring the roof of the parking garage.