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Published February 20, 2012, 12:15 AM

Grand Forks Air Ambulance Company Expands

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A Grand Forks air ambulance company is celebrating one year of saving lives by expanding. Valley Med Flight cuts transport times for patients in and out hospitals.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A Grand Forks air ambulance company is celebrating one year of saving lives by expanding. Valley Med Flight cuts transport times for patients in and out hospitals.

Ben Dorman is one of the founders of Valley Med Flight. He saw a need for an air ambulance after working as a nurse in the emergency room.

"Consistent delays of transport of patients out of Altru as well as patients into Altru. And we felt it would be a service to our community to be able to provide quicker service for the patients in our area," Dorman said.

Before Valley Med Flight started last February, transports to such places as Minneapolis took more time because a plane had to fly up from Fargo.

With three planes now stationed in Grand Forks, it takes about an hour after a decision is made to transport.

"It has cut the time in half at least for patients getting out of Altru going to for instance to Rochester," Dorman said.

Valley Med Flight flies patients from northern hospitals, including Baudette and Warroad. The planes even carry high-tech equipment you find in hospitals.

"An ultrasound aboard our aircraft to look at a baby's heartbeat if we are transporting a preterm OB," Dorman said.

While helicopters are better for quick trips between close hospitals, airplanes fly much faster and for long distance transfers. That can mean the difference between life and death.

"We get letters in the mail three months later from somebody saying 'thank you for the service you guys provide. If it wasn't for guys I wouldn't be here today,'" Dorman said.

Valley Med Flight which has seven full-time pilots and eight people on their medical crews. It will soon expand by adding another plane to its fleet.

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