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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2004

Life Flight grounded as tool for campaign

Life Flight, the medical helicopter service run jointly by Mercy Health Partners and Medical College of Ohio, has canceled a campaign appearance for an Ottawa County coroner candidate after a Blade reporter asked Mercy officials about the event.

"Mercy's policy is that as a tax-exempt nonprofit, we do not engage in any sort of political campaigning for candidates," Mercy spokesman Sarah Bednarski said.

A Life Flight helicopter - one is stationed at Sandusky County Regional Airport - was to have flown to a Sept. 19 campaign event in Carroll Township for Dr. Jerome McTague, who is running for coroner.

Dr. McTague, an emergency room physician at Memorial Hospital in Fremont, is medical director of the Life Flight station at the airport.

Ms. Bednarski said Mercy officials were unaware Life Flight officials had agreed to participate in the event, and Life Flight managers didn't know about the policy.

The flight was requested by the Carroll Township Fire Department, not Dr. McTague.

"To my knowledge, this is the first time this" has come up, she said.

Dr. McTague said he was unaware the policy existed and has no problem with the flight being canceled.

Life Flight's headquarters are at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo where the organization bases one of its helicopters. It also has helicopters at Bluffton and at the Fulton County Airport in Wauseon.

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