GLEN DALE, W.Va. (WTRF) — When WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital’s flight team gets the call from dispatch—they know the drill.

They gather their equipment and medicine.
They get in the helicopter and pick up the patient.
They fly to the closest hospital.

But there’s one variable to take into account.

“There are still a lot of hospitals that we go to in the state of West Virginia that do not have any type of helipad.”

Amanda Zima, Flight Nurse, Healthnet Aeromedical Services

Reynolds used to be one of them—until today.

The hospital cut the ribbon on a concrete helipad just yards behind the medical facility in Glen Dale.

Equipped with lights and a clearly marked ‘H’ visible from the sky, the new construction means touching down on grass is a thing of the past.

“The flights in and out of Reynolds Memorial have always landed just in fields. Inclement weather is a problem. Snow conditions are a problem.”

Clinton Burley, President and CEO, Healthnet Aeromedical Services

Healthnet says previous flights meant landing so far away from the hospital that an ambulance was needed to take the patient the rest of the way.

But the helipad is so close that no additional ride is needed, freeing up vehicles that are often just as busy as the helicopters.

The square and the walkway to it are just behind St. Jude Parish, but the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston was happy to offer the land for the life-saving effort.

“The transformation of Reynolds Memorial Hospital over the years has been just unbelievable. And I think this helipad is another clinical advancement for us.”

Douglass Harrison, President and CEO, WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital

It’s a boost in efficiency for the in-flight and the in-hospital teams.

But they say the true beneficiary is the patient, who will be spared precious seconds when there aren’t any to spare.

“It does a lot of good things for very sick people and that’s what we’re here for, is to get those folks well and get them back home.”

Clinton Burley, President and CEO, Healthnet Aeromedical Services