Irmo, SC (Paul Kirby) – The LifeNet medical helicopter base off St. Andrews Road has closed. Sources within the company said that this was a cost cutting measure to try and make the operation profitable. The Midland’s base was located behind the headquarters of the Irmo Fire District.
According to their Facebook page, LifeNet South Carolina is a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) air ambulance that serves the states of South Carolina and portions of North Carolina and Georgia. LifeNet SC did operate from five South Carolina bases located in Camden, Columbia, Hampton, Myrtle Beach, and Orangeburg. There was also one in Thompson, Georgia. According to Helicopterems.com's Facebook page, the Irmo (Columbia) base has already closed and the base in Hampton has either been shuttered or will be soon. The base in Thompson, GA has been closed for some time. The bases in Orangeburg, Myrtle Beach, and Camden will remain open.
LifeNet South Carolina is owned and operated by Air Methods Corporation. Air Methods, "AIRM" on NASDAQ, is a publically traded company based in Engelwood, Colorado just outside of Denver. It is the largest operator of airborne emergency medical services in the world.
In Lexington County, the majority of LifeNet flights were due to trauma. Patients involved in a traumatic event like an automobile accident were often picked up at a landing zone in the county and flown to the area’s Level 1 Trauma Center at Prisma’s Palmetto Richland campus. At other times, patients who had severe burns were transported to the Southeastern Burn Institute in Augusta, Georgia. Patient with life threatening medical conditions were also flown, but those flights in the Midlands were more often hospital to hospital transfers than from the field.