Emergency Helicopters

Your Aug. 1 editorial, "Helicopters to Nowhere," cited some valid points. Purchase of a dedicated emergency response helicopter is not a panacea for an ailing Los Angeles County trauma network.

However, a helicopter may be a desirable component of a well thought-out trauma response system. And therein lies the distinction. Such a helicopter would hardly solve the transportation problems in an area such as the Hollywood Hills. But in the San Gabriel Valley, which has been left bereft of trauma facility coverage since the withdrawal of Queen of the Valley and Whittier Presbyterian hospitals from the trauma network, such a transportation alternative could make the difference, in certain instances, between life and death or, with some patients, being able to make a full recovery and continued reliance on life-support therapy.

We urge state lawmakers to recognize the crisis in health-care funding at the county level, and to adjust their priorities and act swiftly and responsibly to provide needed funding for health care.

DAVID CHERNOF, MD

President

Los Angeles County Medical Assn.

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