When a medical helicopter needs to land at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital to either drop off or pick up a patient, it has to land on the grass in a field near the hospital.
There is no helipad.
The hospital’s president, Rex Van Meter, said that is not appropriate nor is it safe.
The hospital is preparing to build a helipad.
Van Meter said the goal is to start construction later this year or early next year.
“We are receiving patients here and we’re also shipping patients out of here,” he said. “Right now, they are landing on the grass, and depending on the weather conditions, it affects the safety not only of our patients, but also for the flight crew. That is not optimal.”
He said the hospital has between 25 and 30 helicopter landings each year, and there is a need for the permanent pad.
“We can’t always take patients by ambulance,” he said. “Time can be essential.”
Van Meter said a helipad will cost between $250,000 and $300,000.
The 75-bed hospital is about 16 years old, and he said a helipad is essential, especially with the number of patients who are transferring to the local hospital.
Last year, more than 200 patients transferred to the Yukon hospital from other facilities.
While most of the costs associated with the helipad will be covered by Integris, Van Meter said the hospital is hosting a fundraiser later this month.
“The fundraiser is to get the project started,” he said. “We felt like this was a good project for the community to get behind.”
The Big Hats, Big Hearts fundraiser is set for Aug. 25 at 10 West Main.
“This is going to have a different feel. This will be a ‘put on your jeans, put on your boots’ event. There will be lots of socializing with live music, a catered meal, drinks and casino games,” he said.
Tickets for the event are $50 each, he said. Sponsorships are available.
For details on the tickets or sponsorships, call 951-5028.