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Beth Israsel Deaconess Hospital - Plymouth


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History of Medflight

The Tragic Accident that Led to BID-Plymouth’s Helipad

Ten miles could have saved Dougie Thurber’s life 37 years ago.

On a cold January morning in 1980, Thurber was aboard a fishing boat in Plymouth Harbor when his arm became entrapped in the trawl of lobster pots and buoys pulling him overboard into freezing waters.

He was suffering from hypothermia when the Coast Guard helicopter rescued him off the coast of Plymouth Harbor and transported him to Plymouth Airport and then onto a 10 mile drive by ambulance to the then Jordan Hospital. At the time, there wasn’t a safe landing zone for a helicopter, forcing his rescue trip an extra 20 miles even though the hospital was two miles from the accident. Sadly, Thurber passed away at the hospital from hypothermia.

This tragic accident led the community to raise money and find a grant from the Ellison Foundation to construct a helipad on the grounds of the hospital. The Ellison Helipad was implemented in 1981 and has helped save many lives since.

BID-Plymouth has created a video series highlighting the history of our helipad and how we work with Boston MedFlight to provide fast, efficient patient care.

Before the implementation of Boston MedFlight, medevac had a long history of air transportation including hot air balloons, bi-planes and DC3 aircraft. Today, Boston MedFlight has a helicopter based out of the Plymouth Airport if a tragic accident happens on the South Shore. Boston MedFlight transports approximately 150 patients a year from BID-Plymouth via the Ellison Helipad.

Learn more in our video series produced by the Marketing & Communications Department at BID-Plymouth. CLICK HERE to view the video series.

275 Sandwich Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
(508) 746-2000

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