Collier County EMS helicopter out of service for maintenance

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – The only medical helicopter in the county is out of service right now. That means you have to rely on the assistance of other counties to get you the care needed.

The $3 million piece of equipment is used to save hundreds of lives each year.

“We have about 250 a year, trauma alert patients, that we transport to Lee County Trauma Center,” said Collier County EMS Chief Walter Kopka.

But right now, the chopper has been grounded for the past month in a hangar at the Naples Airport for maintenance.

“We do it about this time a year, every year, because it’s our slowest time of the year for trauma alert patients,” said Kopka.

While the Medflight is down, Lee and Broward Counties provide mutual aid and transport patients in Collier County.

“It doesn’t have impact on how we respond,” said Kopka. “It does have an impact on where we transport the patient to and how we transport them.”

He said NCH Downtown and NCH North Naples Hospital are both trauma receiving facilities that could stabilize a patient before they’re transported to another hospital.

The annual inspection is required by the manufacturer and the FAA.

Kopka tells WINK News the helicopter will be back in service next week.

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