Thursday, July 16, 2009

25,000 in the 25th Year

My, how time flies when you're saving lives! University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinic's Med Flight just completed it's 25,000th live-saving mission. The milestone was reached last night when a patient in a motorcycle accident was air lifted to UW Hospital. We all know that high quality, rapid emergency care is essential. But I really didn't feel it at a gut level until I spoke with Tracy Ohrt, a young mother whose life was saved by Med Flight and specifically Dr. Mike Abernethy, chief flight physician. I had been asked to write a news release about the milestone. I learned that in 2005, Ohrt's car was smashed like a tin can by a vehicle that crossed the centerline of a county highway during morning rush. Because of the commuter traffic crunch, Ohrt couldn't wait for treatment. Med Flight was dispatched. Within minutes, Med Flight touched down and Dr. Abernethy immediately began treating her, even though she had to be freed by a lengthy extrication process. Ohrt said her upper and lower jaws were shattered and practically every facial bone was fractured. It took dozens and dozens of surgical screws to fix her face (she lost count). I've always been proud of, and felt lucky to be associated with, the Med Flight staff. But when my conversation with Tracy was over, I was in absolute awe of what that crew did to save her life. And now with a landmark number of flights, there are 24,999 stories just like Tracy's to help me appreciate the Med Flight staff. Congrats!

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