LINCOLN, Maine — A helicopter landing pad at Penobscot Valley Hospital will help save lives. That’s why hospital officials want to build one, they said Thursday.
“This will drastically cut down on the amount of time it takes to transport critically ill patients to Bangor and specialty hospitals,” hospital Chief Executive Officer David A. Shannon said in a statement Thursday. “It will also allow Eastern Maine Medical Center’s neonatal team to respond quickly to PVH when an infant needs advanced care.”
The 45-foot-by-45-foot helipad would cost about $80,000. It would be in the northern corner of the hospital’s Transalpine Road parking lot, plans show. The lot and building would need further alteration for which estimates are sought. LifeFlight of Maine has applied to several agencies for building funds, hospital officials said.
The planning board held an informal review of the project Monday and tabled it, seeking further details from the hospital and an informal review from the Federal Aviation Administration, said Jerry Davis, the town’s zoning enforcement officer.
The board also seeks to ensure that the all hospital neighbors are informed of the project, Davis said.
The hospital is mailing letters to all its neighbors, said Allison Bankston, the hospital’s senior director of marketing and fund development.
LifeFlight typically uses Lincoln Regional Airport, which is about a mile from PVH, as a landing and patient transfer point. The helicopters typically are met by PVH ambulance crews.
Hospital officials estimate that the helipad could shave 29 minutes off the time it takes to get patients to Bangor by landing directly at the hospital. Eastern Maine Medical Center of Bangor is the area’s major trauma facility.
LifeFlight has flown patients from PVH 17 times in the last year. The PVH Emergency Medical Services team uses two ambulances, is available 24-7 and makes an average of 170 ambulance runs a month, officials have said.
If successful, the helipad construction will be the latest of several upgrades that modernized most of the hospital. An expansion doubling the size of PVH’s surgical suites, plus renovations to waiting rooms, labor and delivery suites, switchboard and patient registration and laboratory workroom areas have been completed since 2004.
The total price tag was almost $5 million.
The hospital also raised about $180,000 in 2007 to buy two new 2006 Ford E-450 ambulances.
Penobscot Valley Hospital is the only provider of emergency medical services for a Rhode Island-size area that comprises Burlington, Carroll Plantation, Chester, Enfield, Howland, Lakeville, Lee, Lincoln, Lowell, Mattawamkeag, Maxfield, Passadumkeag, Seboeis Plantation, Springfield and Winn.