The Princess and the Helicopter

By Pam Witt-Hillen, flight nurse, ThedaStar
People always ask us in EMS how we can do “what we do.” How can we not, when so many people need help out there? We work in the shadows of human mortality on a daily basis. While tough stuff tests our vulnerability each day, we are equally recharged with a sheer sense of helping others and inspired by our patients’ and families’ strength of character and gratitude.
On July 15, ThedaStar attended Navarino-Lessor Days hosted by the Navarino-Lessor Fire Department in Bonduel. The festivities educate community members about EMS capabilities while raising money for necessary equipment.
There was a great turnout for the event. The flight crew enjoyed people’s questions and avid interest in our service. One 10-year-old girl was especially inquisitive.
Almost five years ago, ThedaStar was called to the scene of a car versus a pedestrian child motor vehicle crash. Then 5 years old, Haylee Shimko was struck by a car while crossing the street. She suffered chest injuries and rib fractures. When we attempted to cut off her pink and green princess dress to assess her injuries, she held on tight and demanded that we not cut her dress. Loyal subjects, we respected her wishes and were able to adjust and follow our Disney princess’s commands, and we saved her dress. As one of the flight nurses started her IV, Haylee refused to look at or acknowledge her and would talk only to the other flight nurse en route to the trauma center.
Haylee, our precocious princess and now 10 years old, honored us with a visit to the aircraft at Navarino Days! She personally wanted to inspect the “carriage” that took her to the trauma center and to say thank you for everything all her caregivers did for her. We admired her gentleness and selflessness. Every princess story shows that it takes more than sparkling attire to gain the respect of people. She carried herself with princess-like poise and dignity. She embodied Belle’s intelligence, Ariel’s curiosity, Snow White’s kindness and Cinderella’s hope.
A princess is a princess regardless of her attire or her circumstances and conducts herself with honor. We were grateful for the reunion with our particular princess and for her kind comments. In turn, we thank Disney and our princess Haylee for recharging our batteries with a little unexpected magic!
princess Former patient Haylee Shimko honored our EMS crew with a visit at Navarino-Lessor Days in July 2017. – Submitted photo

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