Letter to the Editor

MedStar grew from personal experience

Friday, October 14, 2005

Dear Editor,

It happened during the winter of 1998, though now eight years later, it is still difficult for me to speak of without showing emotion. It was New Year's Eve.

The call came as my mother and sister were chatting on the couch. The unalarming sound of the phone ringing suspended their conversation, my mom answered, a coarse but familiar voice, my uncle, was on the other end. "Kendall has been in a terrible accident," he said.

My brother's accident occurred on New Year's Eve when I was 26 and he exactly 10 years younger. I can still close my eyes and see him pinned in the vehicle helpless and trapped, the color of his face slowly fading, my uncle cradling him and relentlessly saying, "Come on Kendall stay with us."

I remember walking up the hill and seeing the other car in the ditch and uttering "Oh my God, please." On a county road, two cars had collided head on. Finally after three hours, the ambulance left for the local hospital. Once at the hospital, Kendall was medevac'd to a larger hospital. They landed, and before the chopper had completely gone silent, Kendall was in the operating room. As the surgery began, seven hours had passed since the accident. It took another eight hours for the orthopedic surgeon to piece the jigsaw puzzle that was his left side back together.

After surgery, Kendall faded in and out of consciousness and we soon knew that he was not out of trouble. For the next three weeks, Kendall experienced many complications, a direct result of the considerable amount of time that had passed between his accident and his arrival at the trauma center.

At one point the doctor told us that he had a 50/50 chance. It was not until that moment did I fully understand the extent of his injuries and realized to myself he could die. Fortunately for us, Kendall has made a complete recovery.

Kendall began in EMS after his accident with the rest of the family following. He has never said the words but I know he believes that he should make the most of his second chance.

When MedStar started we believed that someone, somewhere would need us today. We still do. I wanted MedStar here because I live here, my child lives here, and my family and friends live here. Whenever the helicopter turbine fired, I felt we were making a difference in people's lives. I hope no one has to understand the powerlessness I felt as I watched Kendall in that car.

MedStar will be closing the base operations at McCook. While the company met our profitability objectives, it did not meet those of the aircraft vendor company.

Therefore, to continue operations we required a significant amount of capital to acquire local ownership of the aircraft. As of this time we have not been able to secure additional capital to make this change. We continue our EMS service operations in eastern Colorado and will maintain our dispatch service for local hospitals and EMS services to use when they are in need of flight services from other teams.

We would like to thank our loyal, dependable staff who believed in the program and it's purpose. We would like to thank the area facilities and EMS agencies for their patronage, and we would like to thank the MedStar advocates.

Finally, although MedStar is no longer a reality, I know for several people in our communities, MedStar made the lifesaving difference.


Shanan Pollmann

Critical Care

Life Flight, Corp.

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