Heliport Medisch Spectrum Twente – When every second counts

Hospital Medisch Spectrum Twente (MST) operates as part of the Trauma Centre a heliport for handling Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) flights. In addition, ambulance flights and flights for the transportation of human organs are allowed to be carried out on this heliport. This heliport is the gateway to the Medisch Spectrum Twente when every second counts.

Christoph Europa 2
Christoph Europa 2 on the MST heliport

In the Twente region, MST is the only hospital with a heliport. The choice for MST was logical, on the one hand because the hospital is one of the eleven trauma centres in the Netherlands and on the other because of its central location in the east of the country and close to Germany. Some 90 per cent of the trauma helicopters that land at MST come from Germany. On average, the heliport receives about 120 helicopters per year.

Helicopter Medisch Spectrum Twente
Christoph Europa 2 is the helicopter most frequently seen at the Medisch Spectrum Twente

Previously the heliport was located next to the hospital. At this location the iconic Bundeswehr UH-1D “Huey” helicopters from the SAR76 station in Rheine were a common sight. When the hospital was renovated, the heliport was relocated to the current location on top of the building. In this way an approach path free of obstacles was possible.

Helideck Medisch Spectrum twente
The Medisch Spectrum Twente heliport on the south side of the building (Source: Google Maps)
Helideck Medisch Spectrum twente
The aerodrome chart of the heliport (source: Medisch Spectrum Twente)

A trauma helicopter is deployed at the request of the emergency services after a serious accident. Often in traffic, but also, for example, after an incident in or around the house. In many cases, the helicopter flies in to get a specialised doctor to the accident site quickly. Patients or wounded are only transported by helicopter if they are stable, so sometimes a helicopter returns ’empty’ to the hospital to pick up only the medical staff.

Enschede helicopter
Christoph Europa 2 on the MST heliport, with the Alfa Tower in the background

The Netherlands has four so-called lifeliners, which are deployed in the north, south and west. Twente and the Achterhoek are mainly covered by the Christoph Europa 2 from Rheine, backed up by the Christoph Westfalen from Münster and the Christoph 8 from Lünen.

Christoph Westfalen
Chistoph Westfalen, the Airbus H.145 based at Münster-Osnabrück is a frequent visitor to the MST heliport

The majority of the patients that are transferred to the Medisch Spectrum Twente by helicopter originate from incidents in the Twente region and the neighbouring area in Germany. Most of the time this is done with the Christoph Europa 2, an EC.135 of ADAC Luftrettung based in Rheine. This type of helicopter weighs about 3000 kilos, can carry 4 seated persons (including the pilot) and 1 patient on a stretcher. This mini hospital can fly at a maximum speed of 260 km/h. After arriving at the helideck, the patinet can quickly be transferred to the emergency room to receive the treatment needed.

Lifeliner Helicopter
One of the Dutch Lifeliners during a nightly visit. The heliport can be used 24 hours per day, depending on meteorological conditions.

If something happens somewhere, the pilot and doctor together decide where to fly to. The pilot knows what distance can be flown, the doctor knows where the patient in question can receive the best care. It is noticed that more and more people are transferred to Enschede.

BK117 Helicopter
Before Christoph Westfalen transferred to the current Airbus H.145, they used the MBB/Kawasaki BK.117

During the Covid-19 pandemic, helicopters were also used to transfer patients from one hospital to another. In the Netherlands the Lifeliner 5 was pressed into service (see more in this article) and visited Enschede several times as well.

Christoph Europa 2

The air rescue centre in Rheine has existed since 1982. Initially operated by the German Armed Forces with a Bell UH-1D SAR helicopter under the designation SAR 76, ADAC Luftrettung took over the station in 1998. Because of its proximity to the Dutch border, the “yellow angel” was given the call sign “Christoph Europa 2”. It is the second rescue helicopter to be given the name “Europa”. It is meant to make clear that helicopters in border areas do not stop at national borders and also care for patients in neighbouring countries.

Lifeliners

The Mobile Medical Team (MMT) has Airbus helicopters at its disposal. The EC-135 (H135) from Airbus is used as a trauma helicopter, also called Lifeliner. The helicopter is mainly used when the doctor and the nurse of the MMT must be at the scene as soon as possible. A trauma doctor can perform certain actions and interventions that an ambulance nurse is not allowed to do. Life-saving activities can therefore already be started outside the hospital. The heli-MMT is usually deployed in case of serious accidents where quick start of medical treatment is important.

Lifeliner 5

As of the 24th of March 2020 the fifth Mobile Medical Team (MMT) took to the air with an additional trauma helicopter to quickly transport intensive care patients. This helicopter was deployable throughout the Netherlands. In view of the growth in the number of patients infected with the coronavirus, it has been decided to use this helicopter in addition to the existing MMT service to get patients to the right hospital even faster and thus relieve the burden on road transport. The helicopter (type H145) was made available by the ANWB Medical Air Assistance (MAA) and has been fully equipped by Radboudumc for the transport of intensive care patients.

Irregular Visitors

Besides the obvious subjects, the heliport every now and then also receives visitors that are not so often seen in the Twente region. Below are some examples.

ADAC Helicopter
Christoph 8 is based in Lünen and seen here in the summer sun
DRF Luftrettung Hubschrauber
Christoph Dortmund is operated by DRF Luftrettung and located at Dortmund Airport
Bundesministerium des Innern
The Bundesministerium des Innern also operates a fleet of rescue helicopters. One of them is Christoph 9, based in Duisburg.

Did you know that the heliport also has it’s own Instagram page? You can visit them at https://www.instagram.com/heliport_eh0008_enschede/

Sources: Medisch Spectrum Twente, Tubantia, RTV Oost, ADAC Luftrettung, Wikipedia.

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