Donald O. is a 74 years old and from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a retired farmer and decided to buy a repo house in Beaumont, Texas to remodel as a winter home. He has a history of back and neck arthritis (probably from years of farm life) and was working outside on a 2-foot ladder when he fell back and landed on his head/neck. Fortunately a neighbor heard him groan soon and came to help. Donald was instantly a quadriplegic with damage to his spinal cord.
He was treated in a neck brace and given steroids and was able to get some movement of his L (dominant) arm and then one week later underwent stabilization surgery. He had no family in Texas and his son and daughter-in-law came to be by his side.
After 3 weeks he was preparing to go to rehab but began to get very sick with blood infection. The infection wiped out all his platelets and his body was no longer able to clot. He had fevers and despite antibiotics and transfusions, continued to decline.
His daughter-in-law knew they couldn’t stay in TX indefinitely and Donald needed the care of a more specialized hospital. They contacted us and we were in Denver after our last flight.
At the very last minute -thanks to a wonderful social worker, Maria, who pulled a 16hr day getting a hold of the admitting doctor, hospital and insurance approval, we were able to relocate to TX to get him flown.
When we arrived, he was in worse shape than they had communicated. Thanks to God his vitals had been stable and his chest x-ray looked good for transport. His platelets had risen to a less critical level and his fever had subsided.
As sick as he was being septic, my medic Jackie and I were preparing for the worst in flight.
God protected him and he remained stable during the 5hr flight.
We arrived to Grand Rapids and our ground ambulance was not there. They finally showed 25min later. I’m thankful that the tarmac was much cooler than the usual July day. The ground ambulance said they were covering for the other major ambulance company in Grand Rapids who was having a funeral for a well-known 12 year veteran medic who had tragically drown. They were spread very thin. My mood from being upset Momma Bear completely dissolved. I recalled being at the Indy memorial last year for two fallen medics and remember the feeling of loss. I pray for the family and comrades.
Donald arrived at St Mary’s stable and all his family was there to greet him. They took him to Trauma 1 room in ER to give him a full workup. I know he’s in great hands.
Thanks to medic Jackie, Hal, Mike and our newest servant aircraft “Abe” for a great mission.
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