“If it saves just one life, it will be worth it!”

Obama said that gun control will be worth it if it saves even a single life. Let’s think about that in the context of this Iowa news story from earlier this month.

A medical helicopter flying from Mason City to Emmetsburg, Iowa, crashed in a field late Wednesday, killing all three people on board.

The Mercy Air Med helicopter, affiliated with Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa here, was answering a call when it went down sometime around 9 p.m. CST in a farm field just north of Ventura, Iowa. Pilot Gene Grell, nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau, and paramedic Russell Piehl died.

Had we had the foresight to ban medical helicopters last year, these three people would still be alive. We would not have saved one life, we would have saved three. Right? Technically, yes. But wrong as policy.

There would certainly be a net loss of lives if quick responding medical helicopter flights were banned. That is obvious. We also know that, even for people who wouldn’t die during ground base ambulance rides, there are benefits to flying in terms of reduced suffering and quicker recovery.

Still, we know for certain that there will be people killed in future helicopter crashes. We accept that. The benefits of life flights make it worth the cost. Nobody would say that banning medical helicopters would be worth it even if it did save the lives of the three Iowans.

Jonah Goldberg elaborates on this fact and gun control in a short, must-read article at NRO.

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4 Responses to “If it saves just one life, it will be worth it!”

  1. R.D. Walker says:

    A bank credit officer who never makes a loan will never lose the bank’s money.

    An insurance company that never issues a policy will never have to pay a costly claim.

    A baseball player who never goes up to bat will ever strike out.

    An investor who never invests will never lose his cash.

    I could go on…

  2. MadBrad says:

    We never see crime statistics that indicate how many lives have been saved as a result of private firearm ownership. The fact is that restrictions to private gun ownership will directly contribute to the death rate among law abiding citizens.

  3. oda551 says:

    Actually. The vast majority of times that helicopters are used in air evac they provide no benefit to patient outcomes (the exception to this is battlefield trauma). Often they are used to reduce liability and because the staff has specialized training.They are one more example of expensive healthcare that is a result of Medicare or insurance reimbursement without folks asking if the cost is worth the outcome.

    • R.D. Walker says:

      Whether helicopters save lives is irrelevant. We ain’t banning them to “save even a single life”. That’s the point.

      Football doesn’t save any lives. It does kill people occasionally, however. We still ain’t banning it.