St. Luke’s Plans to Expand, Residents Concerned About Helipad

Community meeting meld at Hospital to discuss

DULUTH, Minn.- Neighbors who live near St. Luke’s hospital in downtown Duluth are sounding off about potential noise disturbance they feel could come from the hospital’s plan to expand it’s campus.

The first phase of the hospital’s extension is estimated to cost $37.5 million and add 16 more general treatment rooms, 2 more trauma rooms, and 3 more behavioral health treatment rooms.

But what concerns neighbors the most, is the relocation of the hospital’s helipad closer to many homes.

At a community forum Wednesday night, residents claimed the proposed site would effect houses on east Second Street.

The hospital says they have a good reason for the move, they report it will cut 5 minutes off a patient’s door–to–room time.

They say, any added noise is a small price to pay for the lives it will help save.

“We have a general requirement of what’s called door–to–room time, to take care of somebody’s heart, get their artery open, hopefully stop their attack,” said Dr. Scott Mikesell, Head Cardiologist at St. Luke’s.

“These minutes that we’re talking about, and the 5 minute model that’s the best guess, frankly in my world could end up making the difference whether we get the patient through or not.”

Residents were still concerned about the helipad, otherwise called a helistop or heliport. They cite veterans who would have troubles with their PTSD, and the Helipad’s proximity to bedroom windows.

“And I ask you, would you like to live across the street from a helicopter, landing at 128 decibels?” asked one resident in the audience.

Hospital engineers and other personnel add that the flights amount to just 1 a day, typically between the hours of 3pm to 11pm, but that they understand noise concerns.

Residents filed an appeal to the helipad’s relocation, and are invited to express their thoughts or concerns to the city council at their next meeting on February 25th.

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