It was just over three weeks ago that a helicopter transported a 19-year-old girl from a serious car accident on Interstate 20/59 near the Mississippi/Alabama state line to Anderson Regional Medical Center. As luck would have it, Brian Taylor, an EMT with Air Evac Life Team just happened to be driving by when he noticed the car she was riding in had run off the road. He got out to check and knew she needed help fast.
"I found a young lady inside the car that potentially had some head injury issues and I called our aircraft, our rotor wing aircraft out of Demopolis, Alabama," said Taylor.
One of the members of that crew was Steve Smith. They made the 30 minute flight from Demopolis and planned to take her to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, but due to bad weather they took her to Meridian, where a neurosurgeon was on duty and was able to perform emergency surgery.
"We were able to get her into Anderson Hospital where that staff there took charge and did a real good job with helping her," Smith said. "It's real good. The whole situation just turned out real well."
Now 25 days later, she has taken her first steps and is doing well enough to fly back home to New Jersey to continue her rehabilitation. The first responders from that day kept tabs on her and were at Key Field Thursday morning as she arrived by ambulance for a bittersweet goodbye. Smith says that most patients they have to airlift don't see such positive outcomes, so he's glad to see her come so far.
"A lot of times we're just in the background and don't really get to be a part or see things through in their fullness and see these positive outcomes, so this has really been a great experience for us," Smith said.
She and her mother were able to fly home via air ambulance for only $60 thanks to their Air Evac membership.