Homecoming Queen breaks every bone in her face

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Homecoming Queen breaks every bone in her face

Postby Micronaut » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:07 pm

LifeFlight has grown, treated 24,000 in 20 years

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll ... /1024/NEWS

Celebration honors 3 former patients

Staff Writer

The moped accident broke every bone in the homecoming queen's face and nearly killed her.

"I pulled up and saw her bleeding everywhere. Her femur was hanging out of her," recalled her father, Don McDaniel. "I went down on my knees and put my hands on her and started praying for God to help her."

Second to God, Don McDaniel credits the Vanderbilt LifeFlight emergency helicopter staff with saving his then 17-year-old daughter Jacqui's life after she crashed face-first into a tree at 40 mph.

"This is a hospital coming to you," he said.

Jacqui is one of 24,000 patients treated by LifeFlight personnel during the last 20 years. LifeFlight celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday, in part, by honoring Jacqui and two other former patients at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Physicians responsible for launching the program also were recognized.

In 20 years, the LifeFlight fleet team has grown from about a dozen employees to more than 100. The fleet — originally a sole airplane — now consists of one airplane, five helicopters and three ambulances. Only the ambulances are equipped to treat critically ill newborns.

Jerry Jones, a spokesman for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, noted that improved technology has allowed for better treatment. The early helicopters, for example, could carry only one patient while the newer ones can transport two people.

"The first helicopters were so small that the only care they could provide was from the chest up," Jones said. "With the new helicopters they have full access to the entire body."

The LifeFlight fleet transported more than 3,000 patients to Vanderbilt in the past year. The program serves Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and parts of Mississippi.

McDaniel said LifeFlight responded to his daughter's accident in Murfreesboro within seven minutes.

"Had they not responded so quickly she would have died at the scene," he said.

Jacqui, who has no memory of the crash, has endured 30 hours of surgery since the August 2004 accident. McDaniel said she walks with a cane, has vision problems, and suffers from short-term memory loss. But she still graduated with honors from Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro.

"The doctors didn't think she would survive during the first 10 days. She's a walking miracle," McDaniel said. LifeFlight "is the reason she's alive today." •
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