Memorial East holds helicopter transport drill prior to opening

Memorial Hospital Helicopter Drill

Memorial nurses and Arch Helicopter flight paramedics check the vitals on “Iris Rose”, a replica baby used in the simulation. From left, Kristy Leadendecker, Michael Sarabia, Keri Hinson, and David Hurd. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

SHILOH – Memorial East took part in a helicopter transport drill last week to prepare for their upcoming opening on Tuesday, April 12.

The drill scenario was based around transporting a sick infant to St. Louis via Arch Helicopter.

“We held a mock transport of a baby from our level two nursery to St. Louis in order to test our helipad and our process. And all went very well,” said Donna Stephens, director of the Family Birthing Center.

Memorial East’s helipad received high marks from the helicopter crew.


Memorial Hospital Helicopter Drill

Memorial East Director Ruth Holmes (right) said she became a bit emotional when the helicopter touched down.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

“I think it went very well, everyone was very well prepared. We had some good feedback from the pilot and helicopter crew. They said our helipad was great because its out in the open with no barriers. They also felt the beacon helped them to find their way as well. Everyone was prepared in the special care nursery and did very well,” said Kim Howell, director of emergency and cardiovascular services.

Howell said the drill was held so they’d be ready when the real time came.


“It’s a drill to ensure the safety of the patients. To be sure we’re prepared for the real event,” Howell said.

The helicopter that landed at Memorial East during the drill was the first one to touch down at the new hospital. A large group of hospital employees came outside to watch the historic event and some became slightly emotional.

“It was really exciting. It almost brought tears to your eyes seeing it. It was one more landmark coming up to our opening,” said Stephens.

Memorial East Director Ruth Holmes agreed, saying the drill proved to be a very exciting moment for hospital staff.


Memorial Hospital Helicopter Drill

The crew of the Arch Helicopter coming down the sidewalk, approaching the hospital from the helipad. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

“The Helipad Drill is the first of our many scenario training drills and I admit it was thrilling and a relief to see the helicopter land safely.  Almost as thrilling was the sight of many of the Memorial Hospital East employees observing the process with tears in their eyes. It is indeed an exciting time,” said Memorial East Director Ruth Holmes.

Memorial East will be holding a dedication ceremony and open house on Sunday, April 10, at 1:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend. The hospital will open to patients at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12.