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Fort McMurray doctor stresses need for heli pad

June 11, 2013, Fort McMurray, Alta. – The head of the emergency room at Fort McMurray Hospital says people are dying because the hospital doesn't have its own heli-pad.


June 11, 2013
By The Canadian Press

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June 11, 2013, Fort McMurray, Alta. – The head of the emergency room at Fort
McMurray Hospital says people are dying because the hospital doesn't
have its own heli-pad.

Dr. Brian Dufresne says if a helicopter brings in an injured or
sick patient, it must land at Fort McMurray's airport.

He says the extra time it then takes to transport them to the
hospital 15 kilometres away can prove fatal.

Alberta Health Services says $5.5 million for a new heli-pad at
the Fort McMurray hospital was released only weeks ago and
construction is set to start next spring.

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Dufresne says he's worked at the hospital for 20 years and can't
believe they're still fighting for "an essential part of emergency
medical services."

The hospital used to have its own heli-pad but it was shut down
in 2007 by Transport Canada after officials found it didn't meet
standards.

Dufresne says at the time, Alberta Health Services wouldn't pay
for the upgrades to bring the landing space up to code.

He estimates his emergency room is one of the busiest in Alberta,
with tens of thousands of camp workers in the oilsands situated in
areas more than an hour from the city.


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