SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --The growing demand for emergency air transport has CoxHealth adding to its fleet of helicopters.
The current helicopter at CoxHealth debut in 2007. When a second chopper arrives in May, it will be the latest addition of CoxHealth's Air Care Program that began more than 20 years ago.
CoxHealth's two choppers along with the five that Mercy Hospital operates, means the Ozarks are now being served by seven medical helicopters.
"It will expand the footprint for Cox. It will expand the service area for our helicopter," explains Susan Crum , Cox Air Care Program Director.
She says the delivery of the new copter, will allow them to better serve the area.
"It has a great value and it's an asset to the community."
Crews respond right now to more than 400 calls a year.
Andy Schmidt is a Cox Air Care Pilot. He tells KOLR10," I think having a second aircraft is practical in a lot of ways. Sometimes we get to a helicopter scene of two or three helicopters at a scene."
Schmidt has been a pilot for more than 20 years. He's flown more than 2,000 people to trauma centers.
"Some lives are alive today because of that."
One of those lives belongs to Chuck Mingus.
"If it hadn't been for them , I don't think I would've made it if hadn't been for the helicopter," explains Mingus.
Mingus was airlifted by a Mercy Hospital helicopter back in January, "It means everything, still being here." After being in a motorcycle crash.
"I just lost control of my motorcycle. It was straight stretch,it started going towards the center and I couldn't hold it."
The crash was so severe, Mingus had to have a leg amputated.
"It's different not having a leg. I mean sometimes I want to just get up and take off you know, oh, can't do that."
But he's thankful to see another day.
"You can't describe how thankful you are. What would you do without them?"
Time and speed- crucial, but saving a life could come down to the up in the air critical care.
Dianne Mignus is Chuck's Wife and she tells KOLR10 ,"I just let him know that we we're there but it was really very frightening."
For Dianne everyday is a blessing.
"We were lucky that there's you know helicopters that can bring you from far away places to get help. We're very fortunate that he was airlifted in."
Mingus will receive his prosthetic leg at the end of July just in time for his birthday.
Cox medical staff say the second chopper was formerly used by Dutch police in the Netherlands. And after it's stripped down to the frame and rebuilt , it will look completely brand new.
It should be in operation by May.
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