Patient Stories

A Terrifying Fall

Post-retirement, Rick enjoys spending time with his partner Marie and their animals on their small farm on Whidbey Island. Together, they own and operate The Chocolate Flower Farm, specializing in all-things chocolate and specialty plants. This particular day began as ordinarily as any other. Rick enjoyed his coffee with Marie, ate his breakfast, and made mental note of the things he wanted to accomplish. One of those tasks included clearing branches from their roof after a windstorm, which required the use of an extension ladder. After completing the work, he began descending the ladder when the base suddenly slipped, and he was thrown to the ground, landing head-first. Marie heard his fall and came outside to find him unconscious.

Rick recalls coming to and attempting to get up, but Marie was there with her hands on his shoulders, telling him to stay down. She quickly called 911, and Whidbey Health EMS arrived to find Rick moving in and out of consciousness. He was agitated and confused and in a great deal of pain, asking repetitive questions about what was happening. It was clear his injuries were severe, and Life Flight Network was needed to provide rapid transport and critical care to the hospital. Rick was in a great deal of pain, which contributed to nausea and vomiting while he was being cared for on scene. The first responders worked to prepare Rick for transport, immobilizing him to protect his head, neck, and spine, and transported him a short distance to the helicopter landing zone.

“I can’t remember a lot after that, but I do remember the sound of the helicopter landing. Then a hand on my shoulder and a comforting male voice. I remember feeling the empathy and reassurance in his words like it was yesterday.” Rick was transported to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington, where it was discovered that he had a broken neck, three compression fractures in his back, a brain bleed, and multiple broken ribs. He spent four days in the ICU and a total of two weeks in the hospital.

“We’re so grateful for Life Flight Network’s quick response and for being so close and available when we needed them,” says Marie. “It saved his life.”

The voice Rick heard that day was belonged to Life Flight Network flight nurse, Kevin, who wanted Rick to know he was in good hands. The two have since been reunited, and Rick had the opportunity to thank Kevin for his role in saving his life.


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