Until an unexpected illness occurred two years ago we believed, as we’re sure many do, that a Mercy Flights membership for a young and healthy family would never be needed. Why would we pay a membership fee for a service we would never use? We learned the hard way that life can veer strangely off course when you least expect it.
It became clear when our 7-year-old son Benjamin went in to kidney failure (due to a toxic strain of E.coli) that he would not be able to receive the care he needed in the Rogue Valley. It was determined that immediate transportation to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland was mandatory. Mercy Flights was contacted by the hospital, and within the hour (barely long enough for us to run home and throw a few things together) his team arrived at the hospital to transport us via ground ambulance to the airport where the air-team would then transport us to Portland.
Amber, his RN, and Tyler, his Paramedic stayed with us from the time they arrived at his room in Medford until he was safely with his medical team up in Portland. His entire Mercy Flights team including the RNs, EMTs, and pilots was professional, expertly trained, and dedicated to their profession. We believe with all of our hearts that Mercy Flights is one of the reasons that Benjamin is still alive and thriving today. To this day, Benjamin has maintained a special relationship with his crew.
It is a surreal experience when a random event throws your whole life into upheaval, but it can, and sometimes does happen. When life takes those unexpected turns, it is nice to know that Mercy Flights is there to get you to the care you need.
Jeff and Kelley Witters
My beautiful spina bifida warrior, Natalie, while experiencing shunt failure, was so blessed to be flown to Portland by the Mercy Flights team on several different occasions. The Mercy Flights team was friendly, professional, took the time to explain to a scared little girl what was going on, and truly put her at ease. As Natalie’s mom, they kept me updated every step of the way, allowed me to sit across from Natalie, and even offered me an in flight bottle of water. Job well done Mercy Flights.
The Smith Family truly appreciates you.
One member’s journey on the Mercy Flights King Air, and the membership program that helped him pay for it.
On Feb 6th, 2019, I had a procedure at Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay. After my procedure, my girlfriend visited me in the recovery room for a time. Eventually, she left but before she made it home she received a call to come back to the hospital. I had flat lined and a “code blue” was called. My heart had stopped.
It took thirty nine minutes of CPR, multiple cardiac defibrillations and surgery to bring me back. I had to be transferred to River Bend Hospital. Because there was no time to spare Mercy Flights was called. The Pre Fontaine team installed a “Balloon Pump” to maintain my life and I was put on a ventilator. In flight, the weather turned and it was unsafe to fly in the helicopter, despite it being the faster way to go. Was I given up on? No.
The Mercy Flights King Air (fixed wing aircraft) was dispatched. It has the equipment to fly through the toughest of Oregon’s weather. We landed at North Bend Airport and I was transported by ambulance where Mercy Flights’ special flight team stayed with me given their experience with the balloon pump.
I underwent multiple surgeries and three weeks in the Intensive Care Cardiac Unit. After I was released, I went through a month of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Bay Area Hospital and then back to Medford for a quadruple bypass. Recently, I endured a cardio ablation.
I am now a Mercy Flights member and will be forever, heaven forbid a member of my family ever needs the, even though I hope I never see any of them again.
I thank every day all who took care of me.
-Ed Makaruk, Mercy Flights member