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Originally published Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 12:09 AM

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Overlake Hospital opening helicopter-landing pad

Overlake Hospital Medical Center is opening a helicopter landing pad at its Bellevue campus Sept. 1, and expects to transport five to 10 patients a month.

Seattle Times Eastside reporter

Helicopters hovering over Bellevue will become a more common sight next week after Overlake Hospital Medical Center opens a new helicopter-landing pad at its main Bellevue campus.

The hospital expects five to 10 patient transports per month. That's "quite a big increase" from the current number, said Overlake spokeswoman Karen Johnson.

Up to this point, the hospital has made occasional use of a small helicopter-landing pad owned by the city of Bellevue, on 116th Avenue Northeast adjacent to Interstate 405. From there, patients were transferred by ambulance to the hospital.

Overlake receives cardiac-care and stroke patients from around the state and will also use the landing pad to take patients to other health-care facilities in the region.

"The helistop will greatly enhance Overlake's ability to provide emergency treatment for severely ill and injured patients," said Overlake president Craig Hendrickson in a prepared statement.

The hospital is a Level III trauma center — a hospital equipped to take care of patients with traumatic medical emergencies. It is a backup responder to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the state's only Level I trauma center, which is the highest level of trauma care.

The landing pad is on the roof of the hospital's west garage. It formally opens for landings Tuesday.

The Overlake site is not the only landing pad on Bellevue's horizon. Earlier this year, Kemper Development, the company that operates Bellevue Square, received preliminary approval for a landing pad on the top of the Bank of America building in downtown Bellevue.

But the approval has been appealed and sent back to the City Council for additional review, said Jim Hill, vice president of Kemper Development.

"We're in limbo right now," he said.

Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or klong@seattletimes.com

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

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