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It takes a village

More often than not, it takes a village to save a life. For the LaChance family, this village was a quick thinking EMT, a Boston Medflight critical care transport team, and the Level 1 Trauma Center at Tufts Medical Center.

Like most siblings, the LaChance brothers enjoy a healthy dose of friendly competition. One evening they found a heavy rock and decided it would be fun to see who could throw it the farthest. A misdirected throw landed the rock on then 11-year old Christian’s head. At first it appeared to be just a glancing blow, but a few hours later Christian collapsed.

Within minutes, the EMTs were at the house assessing Christian. They determined his best chance for survival was to be transported by Boston MedFlight, and a helicopter met the ambulance at the Brockton Fairgrounds to take Christian and his mom, Janet, to Boston. The Boston MedFlight nurse directed the pilot to Tufts Medical Center. Upon his arrival, Christian was rushed through imaging and into the operating room where Neurosurgeon-in-Chief Carl Heilman, MD, was waiting. 

“Christian had a life-threatening epidural hematoma, a build-up of blood between the tough outer membrane of the central nervous system and the skull. It is not uncommon for a patient to appear normal immediately after this sort of injury as the bleeding may begin slowly,” explains Dr. Heilman. “However, with this sort of injury, time is of the essence,” he says. “It is vital to remove the epidural hematoma as quickly as possible. In all honesty, the surgery was the easy part. Getting him from the field to the OR in rapid fashion is the hard part.” 

Christian was in surgery for five hours and was sedated for two days to allow for healing. His family was given a room at the hospital so they could be close to their son. Christian recovered without complications and returned home within a few days. 

Without question it took a village of educated EMTs, a dedicated Boston MedFlight helicopter and Tufts Medical Center to save Christian’s life. In the words of Christian’s father, David, “they made the worst moment in my life tolerable.” 

Boston MedFlight is a critical care transport (CCT) service transporting 2,700 seriously ill and injured patients throughout New England annually. The non-profit organization was founded in 1985 by a consortium of Boston’s leading academic medical centers.  

John Leung, MD a food allergist at Tufts Medical Center, conducting research.

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