NEW ORLEANS — When you drive through the neighborhood surrounding the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, you’ll find these signs on practically every street: “Restore our Peace”. It’s what neighbors are pleading for since the hospital’s helicopter pad has been moved.
“It’s very noisy, and it’s very distracting,” said local resident Sue Foster.
Foster is just one of many residents concerned about the helicopter pad. Friday, a class action lawsuit was filed against the hospital’s parent company, LCMC Health.
“The issue about speed is when you’re bringing your patient to the hospital, okay? That’s what’s important. So, there’s no logic whatsoever to the position that this thing was built, quote, “to save lives”. They know better!” said attorney Joseph Bruno.
According to the lawsuit, in 2017 LCMC built a four-story tower. The suit claims there was no reference to creating a new helipad, and the suit even alleges that the hospital didn’t receive a permit for it, until after construction was finished.
“This does have an extraordinarily significant impact on the people who live there. They were there first, they lived there comfortably and in peace,” said Bruno.
Residents tell WGNO that “Abby”, the helicopter, often comes in the middle of the night, waking them up, and sometimes, multiple times a day.
“Over the weekend, we probably had at least 10 to 15 of the helicopters come over our house. We’re up in the second floor, and it does just shake the whole house,” said Foster.
We reached out to LCMC Health about the lawsuit, and they provided us with this statement that reads in part:
“While the Children’s Hospital cannot comment on the specifics of the litigation, we are disappointed that a group of neighbors would pursue a lawsuit rather than working with the hospital. Our first priority as a children’s hospital is to save critically ill children’s lives, and our helicopter, Abby, enables that for us.”
Bruno argues that the hospital did not try to speak to his clients about the helipad.
On the Children’s Hospital’s website, they state the helipad was moved for two reasons. One, because the new site was deemed by experts to be safer. The second reason, is because the new site is closer to where patients need to be to get life saving care.