Last week I criticized the New York Times for running a front page story about air ambulances that focused only on their cost, while ignoring the most interesting issues: that air ambulances are dangerous, slow, and hard to administer care in.
This morning’s Wall Street Journal reports that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is aware of the danger of air ambulances and is drafting rules to make air ambulances less dangerous. (NTSB to Push for Safety Upgrade of Emergency Medical Helicopters by Andy Pasztor.) According to the Journal, the recommendations may include:
- Standardized use of night-vision goggles
- Installation of ground-collision warning devices
- More-stringent regulations regarding limited-visibility operations
- Flight-data recorders and cockpit voice recorders
- Cockpit-video recorders
The Journal also points out that “air-evacuations end up saving relatively few lives, while costing as much as 10 times more than ground ambulances.” Kudos to the Journal.May 9, 2005