Mercy operates two Bell 429 helicopters like this one, along with an older Bell 407 model.
Mercy operates two Bell 429 helicopters like this one, along with an older Bell 407 model.


Mercy Medical Center - Des Moines’ helicopter emergency medical service (EMS) program, Mercy One, is gaining an international reputation for showing other countries how it’s done.

Medical and government representatives from Malaysia, Russia, Japan, Sweden and Saudi Arabia are among those that Mercy officials have briefed on how to launch helicopter EMS programs. The draw for other countries’ emergency responders is Mercy’s Bell 429 helicopter, one of the aircraft maker’s newest and fastest models, with a cruising speed of 185 mph.

Dennis Cochrane, program manager for Mercy One, traveled last year to Malaysia and Russia with Bell representatives. “Both of the governments wanted an existing program that was already up and running to learn how the people and equipment kind of gel together,” he said.

Mercy has a staff of 42 flight nurses and flight medics.