Gundersen Health System sees positive results with Sparta-based helicopter

“We meet people in their biggest time of need. They have a lot of fear and unknowns of what’s going to happen next.”

Flight Paramedic Michael Huber is used to handling stressful situations.

“We can relieve them by talking them through the situation and giving them the appropriate medications and taking them to the appropriate locations for their care.”

The most stressful part about the job is the race against the clock.

“Time is muscle and time is brain.”

A problem that paramedics like Huber had run into, is many calls had come from the Sparta area.

“It’s roughly a 40-minute drive from here to downtown La Crosse with traffic.”

Which is why they made some changes.

“About a month and a half ago we moved our operations from La Crosse to Sparta airport; we also have a helicopter in Decorah, Iowa.”

“Our idea in moving our aircraft out to the rural setting is decreasing our response times to those who need it most.”

Moving a helicopter out into more rural areas is uncommon, but catching on.

“In our state it traditionally hasn’t been done, but more common in recent years to get the advanced care out into the region a little further. We’ve seen improved patient outcomes because of our increased response times.”

With the move, crews can enjoy the challenges of the job.

“Lot of critical thinking, we have a very autonomous job.”

With less focus on the stress of time constraints.

Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.