Hospital Helicopters

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By an edhat reader

On Tuesday, starting around 6 o'clock in the evening, I noticed that there were several helicopters intermittently (about every 20 to 40 minutes) landing at the hospital on the upper West side. The helicopter flights/landings kept up until at least 9:30 PM. I'm not complaining, I'm just curious. However, I do feel sorry for residents near to the hospital. But I hope the frequency isn't indicative of some sort of disaster/emergency. I looked and didn't find any news for such. Do any readers have information?

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Potif Jul 13, 2018 02:18 AM
Hospital Helicopters

It is always possible that the 'answer' to the OP was answered by comments near the beginning of this thread. Especially the annonymous comment by a 'plane/helicopter spotter'... And unless you SAW a bunch of helicopters landing at Cottage on Tuesday, makes the most sense with regards to the original post --- "Plane/Helicopter spotter here... there must have been some corporate meeting as those were not medical helicopters but executive transports coming in/out of town at the time. I saw them all arrive (not going to Cottage, but out to Goleta) around 6ish as I was outside working and heard them all leave from the Goleta area (Airport?) around 930-1000. Hope this helps and yes, CALSTAR did make one trip to Cottage during this time that I noticed."

a-1537463279 Jul 12, 2018 09:08 PM
Hospital Helicopters

I happen to know that a patient was declared brain dead on Tuesday morning and, as a result, there were multiple transports of organs to other hospitals for people who have been waiting (sometimes for years) for these organs - truly the gift of life! It’s not hard to imagine how grateful any of us would be if one of our friends or family members was in need of this life-saving gift and suddenly, maybe hundreds of miles away, another family is experiencing a heartbreaking event (the death of a loved one) and decides to donate their organs. We’d be overjoyed and not at all concerned about the noise caused by a helicopter for a few minutes. I think it’s easy these days for all of us to become so entrenched into our own day to day lives, that it’s hard to imagine situations like the death of a loved one, the need for an organ donation, etc., until it smacks you straight in the face and then suddenly you’re beyond devastated and can’t imagine why people might be complaining about the inconvenience of helicopter noise 4 times per week or even 4 times per day... Be grateful to live close enough to medical facilities that they are there when you need them and realize that there are so many other things that are REAL problems in this world.

Potif Jul 13, 2018 02:22 AM
Hospital Helicopters

Most organs for transplant would be taken by ambulance to the airport to fly the long distances often required, that a helicopter couldn't travel with the speed needed.

Factotum Jul 12, 2018 10:00 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Do your records show number of trips or numbers of helicopters, since each makes two flyovers. Coming and leaving.

Voran Jul 12, 2018 04:56 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Emergencies occur at all times of the day and night. We are so fortunate to have highly skilled medical teams right here. There times and seasons when more emergencies tend to occur. It's comforting to know we habe some of the best right here at home!

a-1537463279 Jul 13, 2018 03:03 PM
Hospital Helicopters

They just don't have the facilities, and/or medical equipment at Goleta Valley. The cost to duplicate what they have had at Cottage for many many years, would be extremely high. So, it's not all that easily undone. And, having some of the same equipment so close together in miles isn't cost efficient... For anyone. Helicopters used to land at GVH and those patients often had to be transported to Cottage by ambulance. Precious time lost. Many years ago, a friend of mine could possibly been saved had they gone to Cottage Emergency instead of GVH, as they needed to do emergency dialysis to have a chance to save his life. At that point, they couldn't transport him, and he died.

Factotum Jul 12, 2018 10:03 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Using GVH is the far better choice - GVH needs to be developed as a full trauma unit for emergency helicopter arrivals since it does not directly affect residential areas they way the new Cottage does. This was an initial poor planning decision, so it can be undone. .

CS805 Jul 12, 2018 01:35 PM
Hospital Helicopters

I just recently moved on W. Alamar. I think I had heard maybe 2 or 3 a week, but two nights ago it was at least 4 up until fairly late at night. Not complaining at all, but it was a pretty significant increase.

tagdes Jul 12, 2018 02:48 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Did you actually see them land or should you read the OP's post and the actual answer below.

tagdes Jul 12, 2018 12:51 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Let me clarify some differences here. One says they never even heard 2 a week, another hears 3 or 4 a night on week ends......fact, readily available from Cottage, rather than hearsay ...thru June of this year. They have had 86 landings of which 18 were at night , this breaks down to 4 a week with one of those at night and of the 4 one landing every other day. The stats from last year are virtually identical.

a-1537463279 Jul 12, 2018 04:45 PM
Hospital Helicopters

That assumes the landings are regular. During the mudslide I believe there were more. Most people work during the day - I do - so naturally won't hear them during the day. I only hear them at night and as I said, could count on maybe 2 hands - probably less - how many I've heard. That could also be b/c I'm not someone who is super sensitive to every little sound around me.

PitMix Jul 12, 2018 08:39 AM
Hospital Helicopters

I guess if you are a veteran with PTSD, and the sound of helicopters triggers the memories of Iraq and Afghanistan, it's not a good idea to live in the Oak Park and Westside neighborhoods under the approach route for the hospital. Back when the helicopters had to land at La Cumbre, it only happened very rarely. Now that they can land on the hospital, it happens all of the time. What changed? Are there really that many more serious accidents in our County?

tagdes Jul 12, 2018 12:04 PM
Hospital Helicopters

The complete explanation is 2 post below yours.

a-1537463279 Jul 12, 2018 06:11 AM
Hospital Helicopters

Flight path for choppers is along the freeway, and we have soooo many more choppers these days! I think the flight path should be over the ocean unless it's the hospital or fighting a fire, too low and loud over homes!

a-1537463279 Jul 12, 2018 05:21 AM
Hospital Helicopters

SB Cottage has a high level trauma center and it is the only one between San Francisco and LA. So if anybody needs that level of care and they're in an accident anywhere in our area or even in the cities above us they're going to get flown here. We also have a high-level picu and NICU that set us apart and again, people in need will get flown to Cottage. I was working last night and didn't hear more helicopters than normal so not sure what was going on but some days seem to be busier than others.

Bob Wilson Jul 11, 2018 06:43 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Plane Spotter: those could not have been non- medical trips. Specially not allowed under the Cottage permit. The flights must be trauma/emergency only.

Bob Wilson Jul 11, 2018 10:10 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Good point. Misread his post. Either way, all flights to cottage are serious medical. For better or worse, the helipad is in the middle of neighborhoods because the ever-growing Cottage Hospitsl is in the middle of neighborhoods.

Potif Jul 11, 2018 08:48 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Bob Wilson: Plane Spotter didn't say they landed at the hospital. He seemed to be guessing they went to the airport, which isn't all that far from Goleta Valley Hospital. And, the times he stated are similar to those stated in the OP. They could still have been flying low before landing at the airport. A large, multiple person helicopter can be pretty loud, even if fairly high.. And, if they were flying multiple people, they were probably large. Did you SEE any LANDING at either hospital? ( I don't know if they still land at Goleta Valley Hospital now) Or, they were they just heard flying overhead?

pstarSR Jul 11, 2018 06:39 PM
Hospital Helicopters

over the weekend, I hear sometimes 3-4 a night. injuries and medical emergencies from other counties, i.e sante ynez, santa maria, lompoc. air lift to here. just so you know, and I live a few blocks from cottage, its not really all that bad, you get used to it.

Ehdat Jul 11, 2018 04:01 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Pitmix, those are only estimations in the EIR based on previous experience, they are not a requirement or restriction; that was described in the EIR for noise analysis . Even Cottage says, "Although a maximum of only one event per day is anticipated by SBCH, there is a possibility of additional flights due to the increase in demand for emergency services or in the event of a major emergency." Basically because they are the only Level 1 trauma center on the central coast between San Jose and Los Angeles, it is possible for many flights to arrive daily; and yes, expensive.

a-1537463279 Jul 11, 2018 02:50 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Plane/Helicopter spotter here... there must have been some corporate meeting as those were not medical helicopters but executive transports coming in/out of town at the time. I saw them all arrive (not going to Cottage, but out to Goleta) around 6ish as I was outside working and heard them all leave from the Goleta area (Airport?) around 930-1000. Hope this helps and yes, CALSTAR did make one trip to Cottage during this time that I noticed.

PitMix Jul 11, 2018 02:09 PM
Hospital Helicopters

Only supposed to be 2 landings per week based on the estimate of the original EIR for the hospital project. Lots of stories in the news about how those helicopter rides are really expensive and insurance won't cover the total cost so some patients have to fight the transport companies or go bankrupt. So every time you hear a helicopter, that is the sound of someone making a lot of money on a health problem.

Potif Jul 11, 2018 03:58 PM
Hospital Helicopters

There are many reasons, besides medical, that helicopters fly.

a-1537463279 Jul 11, 2018 03:10 PM
Hospital Helicopters

In all the time I've been living 2 blocks away I have never heard even close to 2 landings per week. I could probably count on one hand how many landings I've heard all together - maybe 2 hands - but we are talking over a course of many years.

CoastWatch Jul 11, 2018 03:02 PM
Hospital Helicopters

If you don't have insurance (gangbanger from Santa Maria who gets stabbed or shot) you get a FREE helicopter ride and treatment at Cottage....Those who have legit insurance, pick up the cost(s)... That is why a couple in their 50's pays $13,000 for medical insurance in SB County~ Ask Gov. Brown and Hannabeth Jackson if THAT is fair...

a-1537463279 Jul 11, 2018 01:34 PM
Hospital Helicopters

I live 2 blocks from there and yes we heard them - it really wasn't an issue at all disturbance wise but I also wondered as I had never heard so many in the past either. I didn't see anything about any major crashes with multiple traumatic injuries so no idea, but maybe like prior comment, it was training.

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