Category: PATIENT STORIES

Stories of Shawn

SHAWN BAKER TEAM

RN Bev Meade:
“My first encounter with Shawn Baker was at Doctors Hospital Nelsonville, where we had a couple of rooms as temporary housing until our Mobile ICU base was built there in Nelsonville.  He came walking down the hall, bigger than life, and said “Hi, I’m Shawn.”  A firm handshake began our years working together as a team representing MedFlight in the area.  Funny… but you get to know a lot about a person when you work side-by-side with them in life and death situations, and especially at 2am in the back of a long-distance roadtrip in a Mobile ICU.

What struck me was his genuine care for not only his corner of the state in Gallia and Meigs Counties, but for the many people that we transported.  His caring attitude and positive outlook profoundly affected all of us who were blessed to have known and worked with him.  I still see some of his EMS buddies on scene flights and at EMS conferences, and one of the first things we discuss is Shawn and how he made such a difference our world.  If only we could all be like that…………..if only.”

 

Paramedic Bob Cornwell:
“Shawn Baker was destined to be a paramedic from a very early age.  I first met him when he was around 8 years old when he would accompany his father, Larry, to EMT courses his father would teach.   Shawn would sit quietly… taking in the wisdom his father instilled in the students and him.   The knowledge and wisdom his father passed onto Shawn was very evident in the type of Medic Shawn would become.  He was passionate, hardworking and gentle.  His knowledge and skills were superb.

As important as Shawn’s ability as a paramedic was his ability to get along with his co-workers and others in healthcare, EMS and public safety.  He was legendary.  There was never an encounter with Shawn that didn’t make an impression on someone.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and an incredible ability to deliver a punch line like a professional comedian.

His attributes as a person is what makes all of us that called Shawn a friend so sad that he isn’t with us anymore.  I’m confident that we are all better caregivers and individuals for having known Shawn.  We remember the great times we had with him and carry on the legacy he left on earth as a paramedic, friend and good soul.”

 

Paramedic Mike Smith:
“I first met Shawn Baker when he was in medic school.  I taught one day and was talking about taking care of patients, and that sometimes, all you have to do is hold their hand.  Many of his class mates thought this was funny, after all… they were learning all of these new interventions and “holding someone’s hand” is “just ridiculous”.  Shawn approached me during a break and said, “Hey, I like that idea.” but made me promise that I wouldn’t let his class mates and friends from Meigs County know.   The next time I interacted with Shawn was teaching BTLS to that same class.   I had locked my keys in my truck and was a little late to the class.   He and his class mates harassed me about being late, and when I told them that my keys were locked in my truck, Shawn offered to break in and get my keys.   I said,  “If you can do that and not break a window, please do.”  He countered, “I’ll have to steal your radio if I do.”  I laughed.  At the next break, he brought me my keys.  We all laughed.  When I went to leave, I got in the truck and looked to see if my radio was gone.  It was there, however, the knobs were missing.  I looked around and saw Shawn sitting in his truck laughing.  He returned the knobs.   I had fun proctoring him during his field clinicals but lost track of him when he finished medic school.

It wasn’t until he joined MedFlight that our paths crossed again.  Every time I would run into him, he was always laughing to telling a story which would leave people in stitches.   One day I walked into MedFlight 3 and Shawn was there… I was surprised and happy to see and hear he was transitioning to the helicopter division at MedFlight.  That was his first day, and what a day it was.

Our last conversation was Shawn trying to convince me that he should be MedFlight 3’s “spiritual advisor”…  He thought that it was an impressive title and “would look good on a business card without a whole lot of heavy lifting”.  I told him that if we, crew at MedFlight 3, had to use him as a spiritual barometer, then we would be in trouble.  Later the next day, when driving home, I thought about our conversation… he could be our leader, as he was honest, would help anyone, and was an awesome human being.

A couple days later, I got a call that Shawn had died.  To say that I was shocked and upset is an understatement.  That evening, a very odd thing happened to all of the crew members of MedFlight 3… We all arrived at the Wellston base without anyone asking us to come.  As I called each crew member one by one, we all realized that we were either there already or would be arriving shortly.  Shawn was just that kind of person to gather people together even if he wasn’t going to be there.”

 

RN Greg Schano:
“Shawn was kind.  When I remember Shawn Baker, I think first of his easy and hearty laugh and how often he laughed.  Shawn was ebullient (he would’ve thought using such a word to describe him was funny…too fancy).  His sense of humor was not cynical or demeaning of others.  No, Shawn’s humor was the down-to-earth kind; honest and from the heart.  When we were on a trip, he demonstrated his talent as a paramedic:  Skilled, focused, relaxed…just a guy here to do good work.  He used his kind humor to make patients feel comfortable…not in a silly, slapstick kind of way, but with his easy and pleasant demeanor…it just came naturally to him and flowed easily from him.  Shawn is one of a few people in my life I learned life lessons from by just being around them.  With Shawn, I learned to be less judgmental, less rigid, and to take life as it happens.  I need a periodic refresher!”

 

RN Susan Nichols:
“The quality I admired most about Shawn Baker was his ability to make everyone feel like an old friend.  I met Shawn when I started as a new Flight Nurse in orientation January of 2005 in Wellston, at MedFlight 3.   Shawn made me feel very welcome, and I knew instantly that we were going to be friends.

As a new flight nurse with very limited EMS experience,  I confided to Shawn that I was very nervous about  going to scene flights, and I warned him that my hands shook something awful.  He encouraged me and told me that I would gain confidence and that the shaky hands would eventually go away, and then he mischievously grinned and said, “I’m just glad you aren’t a surgeon!”   That was Shawn… he just had a way with making people laugh and feel comfortable.   On the other hand, Shawn could be serious too, especially when it came to EMS.  One thing I remember him telling me that day was that it didn’t matter if my hands shook.  He said, “People know if you care or not, and that’s all that matters to them”.

EMS was a passion of Shawn’s… He basically grew up with it.  His father, Larry, was also a Paramedic  and he was also very involved in his community.  He told me that one year for Christmas as a little boy, his dad gave him his he first First Aid kit.

As the years went by, Shawn and I worked a lot together and he became more like a brother to me.  I met and knew his wife, Tina and his mother, Phyllis.  You could always tell that Shawn was just the apple of his mom’s eye.  Shawn’s father died suddenly (Also of an MI)  several years before I met him and since his death, his mom relied on Shawn greatly.  I admired the fact that Shawn was such a devoted son and husband.

The last shift we worked together was on October 12, 2010, we actually talked about both of our fathers that day because it would have been my father’s 77th birthday.  It was a beautiful day and, like always, we had a great shift.  We had 2 scene flights to Meigs County that day and Shawn couldn’t have been happier.  He was leaving for a Fall camping trip the next day with some good friends of his and he was really looking forward to it.  When we left after that shift,  I told him that I would see him on the 20th because I would be coming on when he was going off duty that day.  Little did I know that that would be the last time I would see my dear friend.

In our profession, we all know how quickly life can change or even end.  It becomes all too real when it happens to someone you care about , especially at age 42.  Shawn was an extraordinary individual that I feel blessed to have known in my life.  He had a genuine love for life, his family, being a Flight Paramedic, and helping people on their worst day.
It was a privilege to be able to call someone like Shawn Baker my friend.  I will always miss him dearly.”

shawn baker team 1

 

Three Souls…


Three Souls” – Bev Meade, MSN, RN, MHA, CEN, CCRN, CFRN, CTRN, TCRN, EMT-P. Flight Nurse, MedFlight 3.

Our pilot completed his safety checklist and risk assessment, and contacted our Columbus, Ohio, Communications Center with the first radio traffic of the morning: “MedComm, this is MedFlight 3. We have 3 souls, 1 hour 30 minutes in fuel, 8 minute ETA.”.  This radio transmission is always given before we lift from our helipad to begin our mission.  The response was as expected from our experienced Communication Specialists watching over all of us… they monitor us flying and driving our patients “to and fro” for this company.  They acknowledged us with “Copy MedFlight 3… 3 souls, 1 hour 30 minutes in fuel, 8 minute ETA”, and we lifted into the cool, pre-dawn calm with our Night Vision Goggles (NVG’s) down and activated.

 

Our mission was to transport a patient with an ST -elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) from a rural area in Ohio to the closest cardiac interventional facility… rapidly, efficiently, and safely.  As we landed at the remote landing zone (LZ), we did as we were taught and as we have done hundreds of times on landing… We focused our attention outside diligently, looking through and around the NVG’s for hazards that could mean disaster for the “three souls” on board.

 

Safety is and has always been a top priority for my company, and I am thankful that we are recognized as one of the most safety-conscious critical-care transport organizations in the state.  We communicated succinctly with the local fire department at the LZ, and were acutely aware that our safe landing could mean the difference between life and death for our patient, whom we have yet to meet, and, of course, for us as well.  Even though the “three souls” on board have thousands of safe arrivals, each landing and takeoff still makes me alert, tensed, & ever-vigilant for the unseen hazards that we all know are out there.

 

“MedComm, MedFlight 3.  We’re ‘skids down’ safely”  is what we all wanted to hear, and that is exactly what transpired.  As usual, I thanked my pilot for a safe landing and waited until the blades came to a complete stop before exiting the aircraft to retrieve the necessary equipment, supplies, and of course… my paramedic! As we walked to the waiting EMS vehicle,  I contemplated what we might find, what might need to be done quickly, and what a difference we can make in this person’s life.

 

After assessing and placing appropriate monitoring equipment on our patient, we departed the EMS vehicle in under 7 minutes to rapidly load & secure our patient for the lifesaving transport he desperately needed.  Our pilot once more pierced the airwaves with “MedComm, MedFlight 3.  Lifting from scene with 4 souls, 1 hour 20 minutes in fuel, 30 minute ETA” and we departed the rural hills of Ohio for the center of the state, where critical interventions awaited this patient.

 

After arriving at the receiving hospital and transporting the patient to the cardiac catherization lab, we became “3 souls” again… the team of 3 who answer the call of duty, who respond without hesitation to help the sick and injured, whose life’s work and studies have led each soul to this place, at this time. And I know that there are others just like us at MedFlight around the nation that are awake at 0200, answering the incoming radio or telephone call, responding just as quickly and safely to save the life of another soul. 

 

The mission was completed, the cardiac vessel reopened, and the patient was recovering to resume his life in southeastern Ohio.  As each of the “three souls” completed the post-flight tasks, readying the aircraft for the flight home… me completing the patient care chart and sending it to the receiving facility, the medic restocking the aircraft for another mission if needed, and our pilot refueling for the flight home or to another destination as needed…  I paused for a moment to consider what we had just accomplished.  All of us played a part in the outcome of this patient: Family, EMS, our Communication Center, all of our ancillary personnel, the flight crew, and receiving facility… Each entity relying on the other to do their jobs and save a life.

 

As we were enroute to our base, I considered the new day dawning as the sunrise peaked above the hills of southeastern Ohio where I call home.  I announced “goggles up”, and I contemplated how each of us have a pivotal role in this mission.  I am still in awe after 20 years serving others in critical-care transport how all of this happens almost seamlessly to improve the outcome of our patients.  But, perhaps, more importantly…  I looked to the right toward my medic, and in front of me to my pilot, and I am thankful that each one of the “three souls” are where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to do, and that each of us bear the burden of safety and excellent patient care and quality transport so that we can hear once more “MedComm, MedFlight 3 is safe on deck with three souls” as we land at our helipad…  Mission accomplished.



	

Calling All Former Patients…

MedFlight 5

On April 20th, 2015, MedFlight will celebrate our 20th year of service to Ohio!  We would like our former patients and their families to be part of the “thank you” to our dedicated medical crews by sharing your testimony and story with them.  Your story will be shared at our ceremony on April 18th to the flight teams and Mobile ICU teams that works tirelessly to make someone’s bad day just a little bit better.

If you would like to share your story with us, you can either post it in the comments on this blog, or email it to Sara Craig at scraig@medflight.com.  We appreciate your help and your willingness to share.