Why do medical helicopters crash so often?

There have been a rash of news lately on tragic medical helicopter crashes, with 35 deaths since February 2008.

Who’s to blame?

MedPage Today
reports on the National Transportation Safety Board hearings, where witnesses suggested that pilots were “not taking proper safety precautions, inadvertently flying into severe weather, and becoming disoriented at night.”

Several interesting questions were raised, including whether medical flights were overused rather than utilizing available ground transportation, or if hospitals were engaged in “helicopter shopping,” where hospitals would keep calling operators until they found one willing to fly in dangerous conditions.

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