Among AvGeeks and people in the aviation industry you’ll often hear things about aviation being their life, or they live for flying, or any variation of those notions … however for me, on the 20th of February 2015 aviation literally saved my life.
I don’t tend to delve into public safety aviation, I enjoy watching it, but it isn’t what I love, it isn’t what I research and write about, but I can safely say, I have a new found love for the aero-medical community.
On Friday the 20th of February I went to my local hospital, just 6.6 miles from my front door for a fairly routine procedure, something I have had performed many times before. I generally show up, get knocked out, whole thing takes 15 minutes, I sleep it off for three hours, and I go home … this was not to be the case this day. As was normal, I went in, got knocked out, something didn’t go as planned, my esophagus was perforated, I went into respiratory arrest and had a very narrow window of time to get in front of a thoracic surgeon. My local hospital has no thoracic surgeon.
The nearest hospital with the facilities I needed is 49 miles away, on a Friday that hour drive, even going lights and sirens can be more than an hour, so Hartford Hospital’s Life Star medevac was called to fly me from hospital to hospital.
Without Life Star’s flight nurse and flight respiratory therapist, things probably would have gone very differently for me that day. Now, after a few weeks of in and out of the ICU, back and for with the hospital, and three trips to the operating room, life is getting back to normal and I owe it in large part due to aviation.
I have absolutely no recollection of the flight, which normally I would say is a shame, I love going up in helicopters, but I woke up 26hrs later with a tube down my throat, a vent breathing for me, and a metal stent inserted into my esophagus, so it is probably a good thing I was completely unconscious for the flight out over Long Island Sound that afternoon.