At the end of a particularly hot summer, a farmer and his employee were using a grain auger to harvest the last of the season’s bounty when the machine jammed. The farmer went to investigate and shouted to his worker, “Don’t turn on the auger!”

Unfortunately, the instructions were misunderstood and the worker turned it on, trapping the farmer’s arm. It was then STARS was called to save his life.

When our air medical crew arrived, the patient was upright and talking but he was obviously suffering from his injury. The position he was in was a delicate one, so the medical crew had to act quickly.

“It’s very impactful when you see someone like that,” said Greg Barton, a STARS flight paramedic. “It was a good ending in that we were able to free him from the machinery, but unfortunately he lost an arm in the incident.”

For Barton, scenarios like this one are why he is grateful that each STARS base has added a new tool to help save patients’ lives. Our air medical crews can now take field amputation kits along with them on calls that may require it. These kits require special training and can only be utilized by trained transport physicians.

Unfortunately, some patients find themselves trapped in a life-threatening way and extreme measures might be needed to save them. Use of the kit helps to prevent the kinds of devastating injuries that are often a part of those kinds of scenarios, and allow the crews the get the patients to hospital much faster.

In the past, these kits were only available if a physician on call happened to have brought one along. Following the auger incident, as well as a more recent call where a patient was trapped under a boulder, STARS medical staff realized it would be in the best interest of all patients to have them available at all times.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and allies, STARS is now able to make these kits available to our air medical crews whenever they’re sent to a call where a patient might need it.