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Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - Kingsley Family Remains Thankful for EMS Support


North Flight EMS offers an open house from 3 - 6 pm on Sunday, May 18.

Kingsley Family Remains Thankful for EMS Support
North Flight EMS hosts open house on Sunday, May 18

The smell of smoking rubber, the sound of a horn, and voices of compassion remain close memories for Melinda Kelley 10 years after a SUV hit the rear passenger side of her family’s car where her son, Quinnlan, sat.

The incident at the corner of Garfield Avenue and Hammond Road changed her family’s life and nearly claimed her then 5-year-old son. Her toddler daughter, Kendra, also was in the car.

“It was horrible. People thought Quinn was already gone when they were calling 911,” she said. “I was briefly unconscious with a concussion and Kendra also suffered some injuries.”

Good Samaritans such as Nicole Scalabrino and bus driver April Dean helped her stay calm. Scalabrino moved debris in the back seat that allowed Quinn to start breathing again. Dean jumped in the car and assured her of the children’s health as they waited for EMTs to arrive.

Among the first responders were North Flight EMS paramedics Jeff Alexander and Shawn Bottomley. “They got to Quinn first and then Kendra,” Melinda said. “They kept reassuring me the children would be OK. Every EMT was so kind.”

All three were transported to Munson Medical Center’s Emergency Department and physician Mark Mikula, M.D., quickly diagnosed that Quinn had a severe brain injury and needed to be sent immediately to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. A North Flight EMS Air helicopter crew was dispatched to the hospital to fly Quinn there.

Flight paramedic Dane Hyde and flight nurse Mary Brownell, RN, met the family in the Emergency Department. Because Kendra was still nursing and was being admitted at Munson for observation, Melinda needed to stay with her. Her husband, Kevin, would drive to DeVos to be with Quinn. She remembers the flight crew came to get her when Quinn was ready for the flight and she was able to spend a few moments with him before the crew and pilot Terry Longton departed.

Access to advanced life support ground EMS and air flight service helped ensure the Kelley family did not lose Quinn that day.

“For my son, it was the difference between life and death. If they hadn’t been as quick as they were and knew what they were doing the outcome could have been very different,” she said. “In these cases, the brain swelling is the first concern and they needed to get him to Grand Rapids as soon as possible. It would have made a huge difference if they hadn’t been so prepared and on the spot.”

Quinn is now a 15-year-old enrolled at Grand Traverse Academy with a great sense of humor and the ability to charm everyone he meets. While lingering effects of the incident remain with him, he now is able to walk, talk, and take care of himself.

A letter from Melinda and Kevin to Grand Traverse 911 dispatch thanks all first responders for their quick actions that day.

“My husband and I would like to take the opportunity today to say thank you to Grand Traverse Central Dispatch and all the paramedics, police, doctors, and nurses, who were so helpful and supportive in that moment and beyond,” they wrote. “We have had 10 years with our son that might not have been possible except for all of your quick action.”

North Flight EMS is hosting an open house for EMS providers and the community celebrating EMS Week and 30 years of ground Advanced Life Support to the region from 3 - 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 18. The event is in North Flight EMS Air’s hangar at 1840 Stultz Drive, on the north side of Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City.

Visitors will be able to meet crew members from North Flight EMS ground and air, Coast Guard, 911 Central Dispatch, the fire department, medical control, and Munson Medical Center Emergency and Trauma Services. A North Flight EMS ambulance will be there to view, as well as their A-Star 350B2 helicopter and twin-engine King Air B200 airplane that has capability to fly patients around the state and nation. There will also be a night vision goggles demo, chest only CPR training, and critical care patient simulation.

A proclamation by the mayor will commence at 3 p.m. Free Moomer’s ice cream will be served and free raffle tickets will be provided for a chance to win great prizes. The event is free and open to the public.