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Patient Stories

Jason Chappell

Jason Chappell has been around emergency services professionals for as long as he can remember. His father is a fire fighter and both of his parents belong to the Western Pennsylvania Firefighter Memorial Honor Guard. It was only natural that Jason became an EMT nine years ago. So when Jason suffered burns in an accident two years ago, he knew that his outcome hinged on a quick response from an emergency service team. He had significant third-degree burns on his legs and the situation was even more precarious because he is a diabetic. Fortunately Canonsburg Ambulance was on the scene very quickly. They rushed Jason to Canonsburg Hospital, where LifeFlight took over and flew him to the West Penn Hospital Burn Unit. After two grafting surgeries, Jason has made a full recovery and is once again serving the community as an EMT for Scott Township EMS.

Linda Clark

As Linda Clark was finishing her shift as an Emergency Department Greeter at Sharon Region Hospital on November 10, 2013, an irate patient approached her from behind and stabbed her in the neck. Linda was rapidly losing blood but a team of doctors and other co-workers at Sharon Regional prevented her from bleeding to death. Following initial stabilization and emergency surgery at Sharon Regional Hospital, Linda was transported by LifeFlight to AGH for additional surgery. She is making great progress with rehabilitation and soon hopes to resume her passion of painting.

Taylor McElroy

When 15-year-old Taylor McElroy failed to return home following a ride on a quad on June 19, 2013, her brother Ryan began to worry. He had been waiting for his turn to ride the quad and Taylor was gone longer than expected. Ryan jumped on his bicycle and searched for Taylor in an adjoining field. He found her unconscious, lying between the quad and a tree, which she apparently had hit. Ryan immediately contacted his mother Tammy by cell phone. As she drove to the scene of the accident, Tammy called 911 and requested help for her daughter. Prospect VFD was first on the scene then Butler Ambulance also arrived. During their assessment of Taylor, they determined that she was in serious condition, suffering primarily from a head injury. The crew from Butler Ambulance then contacted LifeFlight.

Taylor was flown to Allegheny General Hospital, where she spent 19 days in the Shock Trauma Unit. Against all odds, Taylor recovered from a severe brain injury. Even though Taylor is unable to remember details of the accident, she is doing well today.

Sam McGinley

It was January 4, 2013 and Sam McGinley, 23, was making one of the last runs of the day at a local ski resort. However, he was skiing at a high rate of speed when he hit an ice patch, lost control, and slammed into some snow making equipment. Since he could move his toes, Sam didn’t think the accident was that bad. But in reality, his injuries were very severe. He was also going into shock. After the Ski Patrol moved Sam off the mountain, Marclay Community Ambulance assessed his condition then called LifeFlight. During the flight to Allegheny General Hospital, Sam received IV fluids and blood to help stabilize his low blood pressure. Once Sam arrived at AGH, the trauma team identified Sam’s multiple injuries. Besides suffering a punctured lung, Sam had broken his scapula, femur, pelvic bone, forearm and nine ribs. He also suffered knee and hip dislocations, as well as lacerations to his liver and kidney. During his three-week stay at AGH, Sam underwent multiple surgeries and procedures. After he was discharged, Sam started rehabilitation. Sam, who is an occupational therapist for Pittsburgh Public Schools, made such good progress that he was able to return to work before the end of the school year. Sam’s experience had made him even more empathetic for the kids he helps every day.

Michael Murphy

On October 8, 2013, Michael Murphy (an emergency department nurse at Indiana Regional Medical Center) hopped on his motorcycle for a leisurely ride. As he returned home, it was becoming dark, but Michael clearly saw a speeding vehicle start to veer into his lane. Michael swerved his motorcycle to avoid a collision with the car. But realizing he was about to collide with a guide rail, he jumped off his motorcycle. Michael traveled nearly 40 feet in the air and dropped another 10 feet to the embankment. Michael had been wearing a helmet and didn’t lose consciousness. But when he tried to stand up, he experienced sharp pain in his wrist, shoulder and hip. Michael called 911himself: the Indiana Fire Department and Citizens Ambulance quickly responded. EMS personnel decided that Michael need immediate intervention at a trauma center. LifeFlight was summoned to the scene and flew Michael to Forbes Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a left humerus fracture, a right radius fracture and an open pelvic fracture. Within six days, Michael achieved his goal of walking out of the hospital. He is undergoing rehabilitation and hopes to soon return to work. Not the type of person to let an accident slow him down, Michael looks forward to riding again.