11.17.15 | Francie’s Story

<p>Saving a life is the greatest dividend that an investment in a hospital and an airport will ever return. Francie Benedick and her doctor at KU Medical Center will tell you that without the resources at Rooks County Health Center (RCH) coupled with the Rooks County Regional Airport, Benedick would not be alive today.</p><p>On Sept. 18, Benedick suffered a stroke caused by a tear in the wall of her left vertebral artery. This caused a clot to form, which broke off and flowed to another artery. “I didn’t feel good, so I sat down. And then, I just went out,” said Benedick. The ambulance was called and rushed her to RCH where she was immediately attended to by a team of nurses, lab and radiology personnel and providers led by Emily Decker, PA-C.</p><p>Using RCH’s CT scanner was critical in finding the location of the clot. After stabilizing Benedick, the “stroke robot” was utilized to transfer vital information to a neurologist in Denver. This life saving machine, utilizing the most modern telemedicine technologies, is a rarity in small rural hospitals, and RCH was one of the first to acquire one. Based on the information from the robot, the neurologist recommended that a specific clot busting medication might be used. The decision to use the clot buster entailed a very real risk. In order to be effective, the drug must be used as early as possible after stroke symptoms occur.</p><p>“The choices that were made that day were some of the toughest in medicine for both family and doctor,” said Dr. Michael Oller, who was part of the RCH team that day.</p><p>The drug, a potent blood thinning agent, could dissolve the clot and save Benedick’s life. However, there was a possibility that it might create a bleeding type of stroke, which could permanently and completely disable Benedick.  The RCH providers and Benedick’s family decided to take the risk.</p><p>The drug was administered and Benedick was readied for air transport to KU Medical Center in Kansas City. The decision to use air transport was made immediately. As soon as the ambulance was paged to the scene where Benedick had collapsed, the emergency medical flight EagleMed was put on standby. After it was determined that Benedick would need a higher level of care, the plane was dispatched to the Rooks County Regional Airport.</p><p>The need for an airport with a paved runway long enough to handle fixed wing business and medical flights was foreseen in 2004. Opened in 2012, the Rooks County Regional Airport not only provides area business the ability to get employees and clients into and out of the county efficiently, it is a vital link in providing life-saving transport for residents. In Benedick’s case, the airport was a crucial player in saving a life.</p><p>Benedick suffered the stroke on a Friday, woke up in KU Medical Center on Saturday and was back home, alive and recovering with her family by the next Tuesday. Speaking of her experience, Benedick said, “The care and treatment I received at KU was just like the care and treatment I would receive at Rooks County Health Center–they know who you are. I think people are crazy for not using RCH.”</p><p>During her stay in the intensive care unit at KU Medical Center, Benedick recalls her doctor saying she was lucky RCH knew what it was doing. In a telephone interview, the same doctor said, “I think your doctors did a great job. She has had a dramatic recovery. She was better off that she was at a place like your hospital. I think it was great work.”</p><p>Benedick is back with her family because the talented and dedicated staff of RCH had the modern and efficient resources necessary to do their jobs to their greatest abilities. The vision and determination of the citizens of Rooks County to build a new hospital and a regional airport at a time when other counties in our state were giving up, sends a clear message that Rooks County takes care of its own.</p><p>Benedick’s life is one of many results of our county’s investment in the well-being of its citizens. In this season of giving thanks, we should all take a moment to be thankful that we live in a county that confidently accepts the challenges it faces and prepares for a strong future. In summing up her experience, Benedick said, “I can’t believe I’m alive, but I do know that I am because of the care I got at our hospital.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

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