New Jersey's air medical trauma team looking for a new home
New Jerseys air medical trauma team, NorthSTAR, wants to relocate from the rooftop of University Hospital in Newark to a more central location. However, NorthSTAR is in the middle of a legal and political battle involving the owner of an airport, a divided town committee and thousands of central New Jersey residents.
The State Department of Health, UMDNJ, where NorthSTAR is based, and the state police, who supply the pilots, run the state funded program. After a lengthy study, they found New Jerseys population explosion to the west, where there are no trauma centers, has created a critical demand. This is why program officials want to move it to Somerset Airport in Bedminster to improve its response time and ultimately save more lives.
NorthSTAR partnered with Somerset Airport and its owner. In order to move in immediately, they requested a temporary special use permit with the Bedminister Township Committee. The airport owner then went before the planning board to discuss the future plans for NorthSTAR. However, the town committee suspended the special use permit saying the airport should have contacted the planning board first.
The airport and the state attorney generals office, representing NorthSTAR, filed a lawsuit in Superior Court asking to overturn the suspension of the temporary permit. In the meantime, NorthSTAR continues to respond to emergencies out of Newark.