Monday, 08 October 2018 18:07

LifeFlight of Maine turns 20 Featured

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BANGOR - Two people alive today because of LifeFlight of Maine stopped by the air ambulance's Bangor hanger on Monday to say thanks, as LifeFlight marks 20 years in the air saving lives.

A Husson student involved in a head-on crash with a reported drunk driver going the wrong way on Interstate 95 last year, and Milo fourth grader Kennedy Carey, who was also transported by LifeFlight, stopped by to thank the people who cared for them.

Both got inside the helicopter that took them quickly to area hospitals, saving their lives.

“She was very, very sick,” said Cheryl Horne, grandmother of Carey. “She spent four days in pediatric ICU to learn that she ended up having Cat Scratch Fever, which I didn't realize was an illness, but very real.

“I'm so thankful for them,” she added. “She's very healthy and has no side effects.”

Tristan Kaldenberg, of Massachusetts, broke his nose, maxilla, mandible, ribs, sacrum, pelvis and had a shattered femur after his crash. He also had to have his spleen removed, as well as part of his intestine, and he had bruised lungs.

“I was coming back on my way from spring break to Husson University and I don't really recall the hit in and of itself, but I was told it was a 75- to 85-mile per hour hit with a pickup truck,” said Kaldenberg, while sitting inside the LifeFlight helicopter that transported him with his caregiver, Fight Nurse Veronica Marzonie sitting across from him.

Neither survivor remembers their helicopter ride, but the folks who cared for them remember and appreciate the thanks.

“We're just a small piece of the puzzle in the EMS world,” said Missy McCann, LifeFlight flight nurse who transported Kaldenberg to Boston. “It took many people to allow him to get where he's at. But it's very special to us.”

Everyone working together to provide better service is the key to their success. That unofficial partnership was seen on LifeFlight's first flight on Sept. 29, 1998.

“It was a poor guy who got electrocuted in the midst of doing his work on the line,” said Norm Dinerman, physician medical director for LifeFlight of Maine. “And it kind of epitomized the work that we needed from not only local ems but the woodsman there who chopped down trees to create a landing zone for us..”

LifeFlight started out as a promise, with one helicopter, and has grown and continues to grow.

“We knew in emergency care that people literally just ran out of time,” said Thomas Judge, executive director of LifeFlight of Maine. “And the leaders of Eastern Maine Healthcare, now Northern Light, and Central Maine Healthcare came together and said we will build something for all of Maine. Not just our hospital, but every hospital, every community.”

Over the last two decades, “We have been instrumental in helping to save literally thousands and thousands of lives.”

Nit-Noi Ricker

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Nit-Noi Ricker is an Army brat who grew up on a farm in Winterport. She went to the University of Maine and the University of Northern Texas to learn how to be a journalist and started her career in Arizona at the Williams-Grand Canyon News, ...