Local Community Invited to HGH AirOne 'Open House' Saturday

This weekend, the newest member of the HGH EMS Rescue fleet will be on display—and local residents are invited to stop by and get acquainted.

Humboldt General Hospital will host an “open house” for HGH AirOne from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 24, at the helipad located at the intersection of Mizpah and Haskell streets.

For convenience, event-goers may use the parking lot at 51 E. Haskell Street, the site of the new HGH medical office building.

In case of inclement weather, the event will move to the Sarah Winnemucca Conference Room inside Humboldt General Hospital.

The event will include tours of the helicopter, the chance to meet crew members, fun giveaways and refreshments, including a coffee bar. Event-goers are also welcome to take photos of the helicopter and its crew.

The new helicopter is now permanently stationed at HGH where it provides life-saving air medical transport to critically injured or ill patients.

The air program is the result of a hybrid partnership between MedX AirOne, LLC, and Humboldt General Hospital.

As part of the deal, MedX AirOne provides the helicopter, pilots and all maintenance, and HGH provides the program’s flight nurses and medics. All housing and other costs associated with the program are also covered by MedX AirOne.

Joel Hochhalter, the president and managing member of MedX AirOne, said being able to put a helicopter in Winnemucca has been very rewarding in terms of patient care.

“Every citizen deserves access to quality medical care and transport in the safest, most appropriate manner,” said Hochhalter. “Our goal is to always put the patient first and we know that will sustain us in the coming years as we provide this community service.”

HGH EMS Rescue Chief Pat Songer said the addition of in-house air medical transport services has served to complete the circle of pre-hospital care in Humboldt County.

“We have worked with some very competent air ambulance companies over the years,” said Songer, “but we just haven’t been able to reconcile the time it takes to bring a helicopter from Reno, load a patient and make that turnaround.”

Songer said it routinely takes between 2.5 and 3 hours to exit a critically injured or ill patient from Winnemucca to Washoe County.

“Now,” he said, “it’s taking 70 minutes, and when you’re dealing with heart or stroke or accident victims, those saved minutes really do save lives.”

Saturday’s event is open to all local residents; there is no charge to attend. For more information, please call HGH Director of Community Education and Development Nicole Maher at (775) 761-2624.