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What's with all the airlifts?

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  • What's with all the airlifts?

    There was a weekend a couple of years ago at BHF, where there were 3 chopper calls for incidents where things were definitely non-critical. I think bobcharles was in one of them. Airlifts are financially ruinous, if you're in a crappy insurance plan. I'm not exactly sure what a flight to Rockford cost, but I'd bet it was around $25-35K. They might have been knocked out, but they were conscious within minutes, and none of them had any life threatening issues that required that flight. Someone on the ground just made the call, not sure who, but once called, apparently you're gonna take a ride. If you start bitching about it, you're "combative" and "obviously concussed."

    So I thought that we had that all straightened out, then this thing starts happening again. Yes the rider was in some pain, but nothing an ambulance ride (~$900) couldn't have sorted out. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we can get flown when we need to get flown, but I've only seen that correctly called once in 10 times at BHF. (The rider died anyway.) Every other person could have easily been driven the 30 minutes, or in some cases, driven themselves.

    Even tho my insurance would cover it, I want to put a giant sticker on my helmet that says "DO NOT AIRLIFT!!!" Shit, I'll put a DNR order on my helmet and a signed medical release in my leathers if it helps the medical or corner workers understand that I'm here with certain risks in mind, and there is no need to over-react with the safety.

    Why are people getting flown for a popped collarbone? And why don't I get to refuse treatment/transport if I'm conscious and reasoning?
    Last edited by borgNSR; 07-02-2018, 02:54 PM.

  • #2
    Medivac is called if the rider is still out when the track emts get to them. They will call it off if they think its not required. Seen them call it off. Seen injuries that you think they could had used an ambulance but they airlifted them which was the right call (head trauma found and would had not been good if they were just driven there via ambulance).

    The second they don't call a medivac in for something that they should had (assuming the medivacs are available and can fly), well get ready for the lawsuits.
    Wait a minute. Look at those shifty eyes. That devious half-smile. Those kazoo-kissed lips.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Skipper View Post
      well get ready for the lawsuits.
      This. It is a shame how attorney's and some unscrupulous plaintiffs have raised the costs and reactions to our sport and others. All it takes is someone's loved ones to feel enough wasn't done to save their loved one involved in an incident on track or on road. I don't even think it would matter if you had "Do Not Airlift" tattooed across your forehead, embroidered in your leathers, or elsewhere. Our society has shifted to place blame instead of accept responsibility. It's easier to play the victim than to accept responsibility. So, those who are "legally" looked at as "responsible" will need to do everything reasonably possible to avoid litigation.

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      • #4
        Why can't the TD orgs offer a "legal" doc to give people a "no air-lift" option?
        We have to sign all the other waivers entering the property and then more when we sign up in registration...just have another form there to release ME from the financial ruin of an air-lift?.

        ?

        I had heard that one individual (should remain nameless - if you know who I'm talking about), that had to claim financial hardship against the medical & air-lift bills. iirc, he didn't have to pay them.
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        • #5
          I read an article a long time ago, about how basically almost all med-flights are a waste of time. Supposedly they did a bunch of research and more people died BECAUSE of medflights (lots of crashes) then were saved by them. This was not specific to trackdays, but to med-flights in general.

          Have a kid who works for me get in a bad car accident this spring..he was med flighted from the scene. The 2 other kids that went by ambulance arrived at the ER literally with in a minute or 2 of the kid med-flighted. I know one of the ER nurses that was there that night, and he told me that. Crazy.
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          • #6
            derekcb hit it on the head. Everybody is afraid of being accused of not doing enough, so they do everything possible (note I did not say everything necessary) to avoid being sued later. You want to fix the health care crisis in the US? Don't mandate insurance because that just enables the lawyers by giving everybody deeper pockets. Place limits on the types of lawsuits that can be filed and and eliminate the frivolous ones. This will reduce unnecessary medical procedures and bring down the cost of malpractice insurance, reducing the overall cost of healthcare for everybody. And take a little responsibility for yourself.

            I digressed into a political quagmire. My apologies, soapbox off.
            Motovid CR
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            • #7
              What I hate to see is when someone gets flown out and a few hours later they are released from the hospital and they return to the track and are walking around like nothing happened. I chalk that up as a rock solid case of someone who got a helicopter ride that didn't need it. The other bad call EMT's and orgs are making is putting people on helicopters who are conscious and are saying flat out "I don't need a helicopter."

              Yeah today's litigious society plays a part, but EMT's still need to make good decisions about when a "Flight for Life" is needed. I agree with BorgNSR, poor choices are being made. Yeah it's a political mess, but still fair game to be discussed. We're all staying cool here.
              John K - Appleton

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              • #8
                On a similar note... Does any carry or know of life flight insurance that covers the midwest? I know I've heard of people getting it but every one I've seen suggested doesn't cover our area.

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                • #9
                  I think the track itself is indemnified against pretty much everything except willful negligence, where a conscious choice was made to make something more unsafe. That would be hard to prove, unless emails and meeting minutes were discovered to contain plans to put oil down in turn 2 or something. So the track is well protected, unless they go against their own policies. BHF would have been gone long ago, if there wasn't a strong history of siding with the track's waivers. Medical works for the track, so that is where the policy needs to be addressed.

                  Not going to get into it too deep with Badger, but I think while we may disagree on the purpose or necessity of mandatory insurance, we agree on the SIDE effects of more money in the pool for the lawyers to go after. I don't really like limits on litigation, especially in the era of mega mergers in health care, communications, etc., where just a few companies with very deep pockets can can and do write their own rules around litigation (e.g. net neutrality). I doubt that any of this is in the mind of any BHF EMT who is facing a twisted up piece of human sausage in leather, but how can it be that when one of us went right off in the kink before T7 and DISAPPEARED for 10 minutes before being found way downrange in a small tree that they had to chainsaw him out of, DIDN'T need to get flown out, but someone who goes down between 3 and 4, doesn't get run over or hit a wall, awake and lucid goes to Rockford for xrays and Tylenol on the bird.

                  Back to BHF, I don't think that the EMTs are getting kickbacks from the pilots or anything, and I think their intentions are good, and based on the taking care of people, and that got most of them into that career in the first place. I just think we need to take a long look at that protocol and put some sanity back into it. I can evaluate my risks on track, but it is very hard to evaluate the risks of getting flown out from a trackday when no one is even sure what has historically qualified for it, or as I suspect, the tendency to call it is based on the experience of the crew, and we don't know who they could be from week to week. It's a hell of a risk, and it seems to be back again.

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                  • #10
                    If I get an airlift how big can my carry on be? I want to take Podrick.
                    2004 BMW R1100SA(street/Deer Spear)
                    1999 BMW R1100S(track/race CCS AM#259)
                    1999 BMW R1100S(parts)

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                    • #11
                      I think the EMTs are stuck in a very tough position. If there is a policy in place (as Skipper stated) to call for an airlift if the rider is unconscious when they arrive, while the EMTs have the ability to call off medivac they may not bet inclined to do so because they'll have to explain why they went against policy. And why is the policy written the way it is? Because there probably was this ONE time somewhere where there was a hidden injury that the person may have had a better outcome if they received a certain treatment 10 min sooner. Again, it's all CYA to protect against lawsuits, pushing common sense into the background.
                      Motovid CR
                      2006 Suzuki GSX-R750 (track warrior)
                      2004 Ducati ST4s (road warrior)
                      2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide (Couch Potato-potato)

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                      • #12
                        I just read an article where they suggested that any location where an ambulance drive is less than an hour should never call for a medivac because there will be no time savings. That's pretty much the case from Blackhawk to Rockford. 30 minute drive.
                        John K - Appleton

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                        • #13
                          I live a block from a hospital and it takes the heli at least 10 min. To get on the ground from my house. Im sure they are strapped by procedural rules but it seems a little ridiculous. I have the understanding that if you are conscious and able you can refuse transport. .???
                          Sporting The Evil Twin

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tl1000rlt View Post
                            I have the understanding that if you are conscious and able you can refuse transport. .???
                            The very last track day I did for SportbikeTrackTime, I think it was 2014 or so, at the morning meeting it was Gun Show Nick doing his usual yelling at people and loving the veterans, he said "If we decide you are getting on a helicopter, you are getting on an helicopter like it or not. If you decide to fight about it, I will personally put you in handcuffs and put you on the helicopter myself."

                            I shit you not, he really said that. There was someone from WiRiders standing next to me, I think it was Hexis if he's still around and can remember that. I think that was kinda the point where I started to dislike the way STT days were run. Felt like I was in a military camp.

                            John K - Appleton

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Zaph View Post

                              The very last track day I did for SportbikeTrackTime, I think it was 2014 or so, at the morning meeting it was Gun Show Nick doing his usual yelling at people and loving the veterans, he said "If we decide you are getting on a helicopter, you are getting on an helicopter like it or not. If you decide to fight about it, I will personally put you in handcuffs and put you on the helicopter myself."

                              I shit you not, he really said that. There was someone from WiRiders standing next to me, I think it was Hexis if he's still around and can remember that. I think that was kinda the point where I started to dislike the way STT days were run. Felt like I was in a military camp.
                              I've gotten the same speech at STT days before. I sure as hell would tell him to shove it if I was awake and able to refuse.

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