Okla. lawmaker to study medical helicopter safety

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma lawmaker says the state needs to study safety issues after several fatal crashes involving medical helicopters.

State Sen. Tom Ivester, a Democrat from Sayre, says medical helicopters are crucial in rural areas far from large medical centers. But Ivester tells The Oklahoman that the Legislature should study whether the helicopters are safe enough and if the service is used too often.

Ivester says he's considering a recommendation from the University of Oklahoma's emergency medicine department, which says accreditation should be mandatory for medical helicopter companies. Now, accreditation is voluntary.

The issue comes up after a series of fatal crashes involved Kansas-based Eagle Med.

Eagle Med has said it's working with the Federal Aviation Administration to set a higher standard for safety in air medical transport services.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com