Leonardo AW139 helicopter in flight

Pool injury sends man to hospital

March 22, 2019

22 March, 2019



| By: Par:

Ornge Media

In July of 2002, I was enjoying some time in my backyard pool with my 10 year old twin daughters. One of them was on my shoulders and leaned too far forward, causing a severe strain on my neck and a re-aggravation of injuries I sustained in an automobile accident in 1992. As a result of the automobile accident, my injuries included a fracture of the C5 and T11 vertebra in my neck and back.

I instantly lost all feeling from waist down and luckily, my wife was close enough to grab me and brace me against the edge of the pool and direct our oldest daughter to grab the cordless phone to call 9-1-1.

At the time, I was a first responder and my fellow volunteer firefighters boarded and collared me and extricated me from my pool. They loaded me into a land ambulance, where I was transported to the hospital in Bracebridge, some 45 kilometres away.

My wife rode in the front of the ambulance, and was by my side as I was examined by the doctors, where I was told that I was being transferred to Toronto for further assessment. Within minutes, a nurse entered the trauma room and informed us that the air ambulance would be here in the next 10 minutes.

I was wheeled down the hallways and out to the helipad with my wife and father following the flight crew outside. Within a few minutes , my 6'3" frame was loaded into the belly of the helicopter and the crew made me feel as calm as possible, given the fact I had never been in this situation before, and had no feeling below my waist. They fitted me with earplugs and reassured me I was in good hands.

As the engine roar increased and the rotor noise got louder, it suddenly slowed and one of the flight crew positioned himself nose to nose with me and informed me that they "forgot my paperwork."

My wife later informed me that they were a little stunned when the power cut down on the helicopter and for a second she feared something had changed in my condition. She said one of the crew calmed her fears and made her feel at ease, explaining what would happen to me on the trip south.

It seemed like in no time at all, the crew informed me that we were on final approach to the rooftop helipad of Sick Kids Hospital. The entire trip was smooth and peaceful, given the state I was in.

From the helipad, I was loaded into a land unit and transferred to Toronto General, where I was assessed and cared for, then thankfully, released after 3 days.

I look back on that faithful trip as one I will never forget. The entire crew was professional and compassionate towards me as the casualty, but more importantly in my mind, they were supportive of my family, keeping them informed along the way.

Every time I see one of those orange helicopters in the sky, I wish only the best for all on board.

Thank you Ornge, for all you do.



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