Med-Trans withdrew its proposal to provide trauma helicopter service; Martin County must start over

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Martin County firefighters thought their fight for a medical helicopter was over. Instead, the county received surprising news.

Ally Zink says LifeStar was a life saver for her three years ago.

"I dove off the top of a boat and hit the top of my head," says Zink.

She shattered part of her vertebra.

"I needed to be at the hospital as quick as I could," says Zink who spent nearly a year in the hospital recovering from the accident.

Martin County firefighters used their LifeStar helicopter to take her to a trauma center. It would have taken longer by ambulance. That's why Martin County Fire Rescue want LifeStar back.

"I'm hoping there's a new LifeStar by the fall," says Chief Joseph Ferrara.

On Tuesday, Chief Ferrara met with Martin County commissioners. 

LifeStar was operated by Air Methods until January when the contract ended. The county was negotiating with Med-Trans but on Monday that company withdrew its proposal.

"We're shocked that Med-Trans pulled out," says John Davidson with the Martin County Firefighters Association.

Med-Trans says it's not a good financial decision for them.

"I get it," says Chief Ferrara, "You're not gonna come here and lose money."

That means the county is back to square one and will have start the process over.

"Can't do it overnight and we still have good service," says commissioner John Haddox who expressed concern about the situation during Tuesday's meeting.

Right now Martin County is relying on St. Lucie County for it's trauma helicopter. However, it's not always available.

"With St. Lucie County, I appreciate them providing services to us but they have their own calls," says Haddox.

Commissioners gave the okay for Fire Rescue to find another company. Zink hopes the county moves quickly.

"I just hope they were sincere today in their vote and take action," says Zink.

Chief Ferrara said he hopes to put out the request for a new provider by the end of this week. He believes Martin County can get secure a deal for a new trauma helicopter by the fall.