EMS Crew Creates Lasting Impact

In the spring of 2012, James and Gurtha McCrea had come to the San Luis Valley from Ottawa, Kansas.  It was the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve that brought them on their visit. 

Unfortunately, the vacation took a turn for the worst when an accident brought James to the San Luis Valley Health Emergency Department with a broken leg.

“I was taking some pictures of the visitor center entrance, and I stepped up on the curb,” explained James.  “I didn’t get my left foot up high enough.”  James proceeded to fall on his left hip, breaking his left femur in seven different places.

From left to right, EMT-P Kyle Crawford, Gurtha and James McCrea, and Emergency Director Ted Andersen

The SLV Health Emergency Medical Services team of Kyle Crawford and Jason McGinnis made the trip to pick James up and transported him to the SLV Health Regional Medical Center. 

While he was in surgery, Crawford, McGinnis and Ted Andersen, SLV Health’s Emergency Department Director came and sat with Gurtha.  They would continue these visits as James rehabilitated at the San Luis Care Center over the next month.

“Everyone was wonderful to us while we were here,” explained Gurtha.  “The ambulance crew, the doctors, the hospital; we were treated just like family.”

Today, the friendship developed between the McCrea’s and the emergency crew, particularly Andersen, Crawford, and McGinnis, continues.  The McCrea’s made their way through Alamosa just last week to say hello to the staff and have lunch with them, something that has become an annual tradition.

“I remember asking him if he had ever gotten to see the Sand Dunes after his fall, and he said no,” said Crawford.  “So I printed a picture and we put EMS pictures on it, signed it, and gave it to him.”  Fortunately, the McCrea’s have gotten to see the Dunes in person during their visits following the accident.

In an email a few days after their recent visit, James wrote the following: “I think you and your staff are still the greatest and most caring group of any professional medical personnel that I know of.  I credit you for the encouragement and caring attitude for my quick recovery from that injury.”

This article is part of the series “Introducing our Strategy Map: 2014-15” for San Luis Valley Health.  This article focuses on the third of four strategies, Providers of Choice for Healthcare, that San Luis Valley Health will focus on in the upcoming year.