Wednesday, July 18, 2012

West Texas Air Ambulance Has State Violations

WEST TEXAS - Following a tip from a NewsWest 9 viewer, NewsWest 9 took a look at O'Hara Flying Service out of Amarillo and their medical wing, Air Ambulance Stat.

 They have contracts with multiple cities across West Texas and in one of their areas, they were found to have four EMS rule violations back in February.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, those violations range from failing to keep vehicles adequately equipped and supplied, to not having the current protocols and current equipment.

Pecos in Reeves County also uses Air Ambulance Stat.

The violations weren't found in their division and they said they're not concerned because sometimes violations can be minute details.

"I know there was one violation that incurred because the ambulance had a big bottle of hand sanitizer in the front of the ambulance where the driver is," City of Pecos Mayor, Venetta Seals, said. "I wouldn't think that would really be a violation but because it wasn't actually on their list of things that are normally stocked in the ambulance, they were written up for it."

To find out if these were just minute details, NewsWest 9 called O'Hara's owner, Clay Dixon, to get his side of the story.

He refused to comment.

O'Hara is the same flying service that owned the air ambulance plane that crashed in Alpine back in July 2010, killing five people including the pilot.

The crash was blamed on pilot error and fatigue.

Pecos officials said they have two Cessna planes from Air Ambulance Stat, none of which have ever given them problems.

"I myself have gone up in that plane," Seals said. "If I had concerns about it, I wouldn't have done so."

Seals said the planes are safe and what caused these violations to happen must be examined before any concern comes.

"Does something like that really compromise the care that is being given and I think that's the question that really needs to be asked," she said.

Our investigation continues.

To find out what these violations really are, NewsWest 9 contacted the Texas Department of State Health Services and requested the right documentation: the notice of violation, the agree to order and the inspection report.

We're expected to have those sent to us within the next couple of days.