Kaweah Delta helipad operational and ready to accept patients

VISALIA – Kaweah Delta Health Care District’s helipad is now operational and ready to accept or transport patients by helicopter.

Kaweah Delta staff have completed several months of intensive training to receive patients who arrive by helicopter. Last month, the community celebrated the completion of the $2.7 million helipad.

“The helipad’s installation will have far reaching effects for the region,” said Dr. Nichole Meissner, Director of Trauma at Kaweah Delta. “It will help trauma victims get treatment faster and treatment in the first hour has a significant impact on survival, especially when it comes to trauma.”

With the helipad, a person who is traumatically injured in Springville could land at Kaweah Delta in just 12 minutes. A newborn in need of a higher level of care could be at Children’s Hospital Central California in just 18 minutes or Stanford Medical Center in 69 minutes.

The community, which helped bring the helipad to Kaweah Delta through $2.3 million in donations to Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation, will benefit greatly from the helipad, said Dena Cochran, Vice President of Development at Kaweah Delta. The foundation raises money to elevate the level of patient care at Kaweah Delta.

Kaweah Delta has one of the busiest emergency departments in the state and treated 86,000 patients this past year. It is also the only level III trauma center in Tulare and Kings counties. Since the designation in 2010, the number of trauma patients has increased over 200 percent to over 1,100 trauma patients each year.