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Medical Flight Turf War and a Death


Medical flight services are of paramount importance when saving a few minutes to reach the right treatment facility can mean the difference between life and death. However, Orange County in the state of California is facing a different kind of issue.

The Fire Authority and the Sheriff’s Department seem locked in a turf war, and it is believed that it was most intense from the year 2016 to 2018. Both of them were on a constant race to reach the patients first, but since then, they have found a middle ground. One wonders whether this competition between medical flight services was the reason why a child lost his life. It is widely believed, if not for the tug-of-war, the child could have got the treatment a few minutes earlier.

What was the Medical Flight Delay All About?

The Fire Authority had dispatched its medical flight that was about 18 minutes away from the accident site. On the other hand, the medical flight run by the Sheriff’s Department was only 1 minute away. All logic would point at dispatching the Sheriff’s Department’s vehicle; however, this was not done. Instead, the Fire Authority’s medical flight was dispatched. The child – a victim of a motor vehicle accident – had not survived the incident. Questions were raised as to whether the child’s life could have been saved had the help arrived earlier.

The Parents’ Take

The parents painfully recalled those minutes they had to wait so that help would arrive. They said each minute felt like hours during the time. A call for help was initially given to the area’s commercial medical flight service which gave an ETA of 30 minutes. Fire Authority had then been contacted who dispatched their own flight. The father of the victim, who himself had sustained rib fractures, had frantically tried to save the little one but to no avail.

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