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Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital unveils helipad

Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital unveiled a new helipad to the public Wednesday.

“Before the helipad’s construction, medical helicopter transports from the Jersey Shore area occurred at the Jersey Shore Airport in Antes Fort, nearly three miles from the hospital,” Marc Stempka, media relations specialist for Geisinger, said.

Now, Geisinger staff can stabilize a patient at Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital, then transport the patient directly to a new medical facility should their case require a higher level of care.

Geisinger Life Flight is one of the services that will use the helipad, which, on average, transports five patients per month from Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital.

Stempka reports the project cost nearly $2 million, and was financed in part by a gift to the Geisinger Health Foundation and through a $250,000 grant from the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, co-chair of emergency medicine for Geisinger, thanked community partners and asserted the hospital as a service for the community.

“While the helipad is here at the hospital, it’s important to note that it’s a community resource,” Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick said. “It’s not simply a Geisinger facility. It’s an enabler for all the care we give locally here.”

Fitzpatrick said the helipad will help elevate care for patients who need it in a timely fashion.

“The helipad is going to make differences in people’s lives,” Fitzpatrick said.

“We are fortunate to have a hospital like this in our community,” Jersey Shore Borough Councilman Sean Simcox said. “Whether it’s upgrades to the inside of the hospital, or additions to the outside like this, it’s encouraging to see this rural community hospital and its employees get the deserved attention that allows them to provide such outstanding care.”

Simcox expressed gratitude for the hospital, which supports families and neighbors with care when they are sick or hurt.

“They do so much to provide us care but sometimes we might need the next level of care,” Simcox said. “It’s a time saver and it will be a life-saver.”

Geisinger Life Flight has transported more than 75,000 patients since 1981 and averages more than 3,500 transports a year, according to Stempka.

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