Cuero medical helicopter service closes

Amber Aldaco By Amber Aldaco

Oct. 11, 2017 at 10:12 p.m.

   contributed photo for The Victoria Advocate

After a little more than a year, a medical helicopter service in Cuero has closed.

Air Evac Lifeteam, an O'Fallon, Mo., based air medical transport company, said in a press release that it closed its Methodist AirCare base Sept. 29 in Cuero because of low use of the service. The aircare base opened June 2016 in a building behind Cuero Regional Hospital and was designed to fly those with an injury or illness to other medical facilities.

"Although we believe we've provided a valuable resource to the residents of Cuero and the surrounding communities, the low demand for the patient transports made it impossible for us to sustain operations at the base," Air Evac Lifeteam President Seth Myers said in a prepared statement. "While we regret closing any base in operation, if we are not able to cover the costs to operate the base, we must utilize our resources in other areas that have greater needs for utilization."

Myers and other representatives from the company's corporate office met with employees of the base Sept. 29. The 15 employees were offered opportunities to work in other positions in the company or severance packages, the press release said.

Though the base in Cuero has closed, emergency patient transport needs in the town and DeWitt County will continue to be covered by the Methodist AirCare base in Seguin, a 20-minute air ride from Cuero. A base in La Grange, also operated by Air Evac Lifeteam, will also be used as a backup for Cuero. Carlyle Stakes, a Cuero resident and member of the Cuero Regional Hospital board, said the helicopter pad behind Cuero Regional Hospital will continue to be used as needed.

"Methodist AirCare was great to provide the service here for as long as they did," Stakes said.

Calls to Cuero Regional Hospital CEO Lynn Falcone were not returned Wednesday.



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