Connected To The Land 04-2018-Fall-718-PM96 - Page 34

STARS: CRITICAL CARE CLOSER TO RURAL HOMES Supplied by STARS. Top photo: STARS air ambulance touches down, bringing critical care to rural communities. Photo by Sarah O. Swenson. O ccasionally, Larissa Helbig eyes her herd of 25 bison and wonders which one sent her to hospital in a helicopter with life- threatening injuries. The bison on her remote ranch had been Larissa’s livelihood for 14 years when she was critically injured. Larissa knew the job like the back of her hand. But one hot August day, something unpredictable happened. As Larissa let the animals out of the corral, she was slammed to the ground and gored by one of the herd. A co-worker found her in a crumpled heap and called 911. While the ambulance was en route, Larissa’s lungs collapsed. She was running out of time. 34 Every year, STARS carries out more than 3,000 missions across the prairies and roughly three per cent of those take place on farms and ranches, just like Larissa’s. These patients are our friends, family members and neighbours. They are the farmers and ranchers who work hard day in and day out in sometimes challenging situations and often remote locations. They are patients like Larissa who suffered a life- threatening incident in a rural community and told us how relieved she was to learn STARS was on the way. STARS was dispatched and landed the helicopter on Larissa’s ranch, just steps from where she lay injured. Once she was stabilized, STARS carried her to hospital, while the paramedic and nurse fought to save her life in the back of the helicopter. Larissa has since returned to working with her bison and credits STARS with saving her life. “If you are sitting on the fence about supporting STARS, don’t. You just never know when it’s your turn.” STARS helps bridge the gap in emergency care for rural communities, saving critical time and bringing life-saving tools and talent to patients. For Larissa and the many farmers and ranchers STARS cares for on their very worst day, the closest critical care centre doesn’t feel so far away. Connected to the Land