“I am only alive today because of STARS.” – Ron Diller, STARS VIP

In the spring issue of Horizons, we told you about a man whose life was saved thanks to the time, talent and tools that you provide STARS when you support our work. Recently, that patient came forward to share his side of the story.

Ron Diller arrived at a rural hospital looking to treat the severe back pain, nausea and vomiting he’d been suffering from since the night before.

But during the medical examination, Diller collapsed and went into cardiac arrest, needing nearly five minutes of CPR by local health-care professionals to be revived.

“I don’t recall any of that,” Diller said. “The nurse turned her back to me for a couple of seconds, and when she turned back I was on the floor and I was dead.”

The physicians decided that Diller needed urgent care at a larger hospital.That’s when STARS was called to assist.

Minutes after placing Diller in the helicopter, STARS nurse Rene Chapman reached for a portable ultrasound machine and placed the probe on the patient’s abdomen. What he saw on the screen satisfied his suspicion.

“We saw a large aortic aneurysm,” said Chapman. “The big blood vessel that runs from your heart to the lower part of your body was three times larger than it should have been.”

The communications specialists then informed the vascular surgeon on call that Diller would need urgent surgery upon arrival to repair his aorta.

“Without the information they were able to provide to the hospital, I would have had a four-or five-hour wait time,” Diller said. “I am only alive today because of STARS.”

Bedside ultrasounds are a recent addition to STARS helicopters, thanks to the generosity of our allies.

For Chapman, bringing ultrasound to these sick patients offers STARS transport teams another valuable tool to help guide care.

“Critically ill and injured patients display a variety of symptoms, and it can be challenging to differentiate the cause of these illnesses when there are limited diagnostics,”said Chapman.

Without passionate and committed allies like you, STARS wouldn’t have access to the talented individuals and essential medical tools which save lives like Diller’s, by saving time.

Diller believes their training on the ultrasound, quick decision-making and ability to give the receiving hospital conclusive details on his vitals gave him the best kind of care he could have possibly received.

He has since visited the STARS hangar as a Very Important Patient and the trip reaffirmed for him just how important an organization like STARS really is.

“After the VIP tour, I am convinced that the people at STARS are so passionate about their jobs and the people who survive, and I am totally convinced that, had it not been for STARS, I would not be alive.”

Watch the video version of Ron’s story here.