A fully-equipped medical helicopter sat idly on the ground as a two-year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool in Farsø on Sunday, Nordjyske Stiftstidende newspaper reported. The pilots were prevented from flying by regulations concerning how much time the crew can spend in the air.
“The pilots have been extremely busy recently and are limited to 14 hours flying time after each safety clearance we receive from Trafikstyrelsen, so we had to keep the helicopter on the ground,” Else Ammitzbøll, a spokesperson for the mid-Jutland hospital region, told Nordjyske Stiftstidende.
While there is no evidence that efforts by the staff of the medical helicopter could have saved the girl's life, the stringent restrictions placed on the crew was a cause of concern for those who live in the area.
“We need to take a serious look at emergency preparedness in the region,” Kirsten Moesgaard (Konservative), the head of Vesthimmerland Council's health committee, told Nordjyske Stiftstidende. “Those of us who live far away from a hospital should not have long response times.”
Moesgaard said that when emergency services in the region come up for tender in September 2014, response times to remote areas – ideally including the helicopter – should be one of the things considered.