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Houston’s Population Growth Demands Life Flight Fleet Expansion

Houston’s Population Growth Demands Life Flight Fleet Expansion

HOUSTON, TX (March20, 2007)

Busiest Air Ambulance Service in the Country Seeks Acquisition of Six New Helicopters in Order to Meet Emergency Rescue Demand

The Memorial Hermann Foundation today announced a $40 million fundraising campaign to purchase six new state-of-the-art helicopters to service Houston and its 150-mile radius.  Currently, Life Flight's four helicopters are the busiest in the country and cannot meet increased demand from Houston's growing population.  The new aircrafts will be faster, larger, safer, more quiet and better equipped, and will cut response time by as much as 15 minutes-or 33 percent- allowing for an increase in missions flown.

Houston's population of five million people is projected to grow to eight million in the next 10 years.  Life Flight is the city's only air ambulance service affiliated with a Level-One trauma center and flies more than 3,000 missions every year.  Still, there are approximately 100 calls per year that Life Flight simply cannot answer.  With more helicopters, better technology and efficiency, Memorial Hermann Life Flight hopes to significantly narrow this gap.

"We fund Life Flight completely on our own," said Tom Flanagan, Chief Operating Officer of Memorial Hermann - TMC.  "We provide this rescue service to everyone-regardless of their ability to pay-and we want to continue to do so.  That's why we've initiated a fundraising campaign to help us meet the increased demand for this great service."

The new helicopters cannot be purchased without the help of donors. Memorial Hermann Foundation announced today more than $20 million has been donated toward the goal by generous individuals, local foundations such as The Cullen Trust for Health Care and corporations such as BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Marathon Oil.

Because one in four Life Flight missions involves a child, one helicopter will be dedicated to pediatric cases and will be specially equipped to treat children.  Another craft in the new fleet will be dispatched from a new East Houston helipad and will cover the Port of Houston, the ship channel and surrounding communities.

"Philanthropy is crucial to the success of the Life Flight program," said Walter Johnson, Chairman of Amegy Bank and the Life Flight Campaign Cabinet. "Without philanthropic support, Memorial Hermann cannot purchase the helicopters.  We believe Life Flight is an essential service to the Greater Houston Community, and we hope to continue to improve Life Flight's excellent level of care."

About Memorial Hermann Life Flight

Memorial Hermann Life Flight was the first air ambulance program to operate in Texas, the second in the U.S. and has completed more than 110,000 missions since inception.  Life Flight is committed to providing safe, rapid, quality and cost effective air medical transport to everyone in need regardless of ability to pay.  Life Flight receives no federal, state or local monies and is entirely funded by Memorial Hermann and its philanthropic partners. 

About the Memorial Hermann System

An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann is known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. The system, with its exceptional medical staff and 17,000 employees, serves southeast Texas and the greater Houston community. Memorial Hermann's 16 hospitals include three hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, two long-term care facilities, three heart institute locations and eight suburban hospitals. The system also operates numerous imaging, sports medicine and rehabilitation, and surgery centers, a Wellness Center, a chemical dependency treatment center, a home health agency, a retirement community and a nursing home. It is also the official healthcare provider for the Houston Rockets, Comets and Aeros, Rice University and the University of Houston. The system operates 24 physical therapy centers across the Greater Houston area. To learn more, visit www.memorialhermann.org or call 713-222-CARE. 

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