MEDIA ADVISORY: Ulysses Durham to meet Vanderbilt LifeFlight nurses and Rutherford paramedics – Governor declares Oct. 9 ‘Vanderbilt LifeFlight Day’

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has declared Tuesday, Oct. 9, as Vanderbilt LifeFlight Day throughout the state of Tennessee, encouraging citizens to join him in observance of the life-saving program celebrating 23 years of service.

In honor of the day, Vanderbilt LifeFlight is making a special flight to Blackman Middle School in Murfreesboro for flight nurses Sheldon Dreaddy and Chris Rediker to see their former patient Ulysses Durham and his classmates. Rutherford County Paramedics David Meador and Jennifer King have also been invited to the reunion.

Durham, 12, was critically injured on Monday, Dec. 11, 2006, when he was riding his bicycle near his home on Tabitha Street in Murfreesboro. Durham turned onto Boyd Drive, crossing the path of a school bus. The impact with the bus threw Durham 25 feet, causing multiple critical injuries.

Durham’s health care team believes if it were not for the quick response from Rutherford County EMS and LifeFlight, and a dedicated trauma system to rapidly treat critical injuries, Durham would not have survived the accident.

Durham was a patient in the Pediatric Critical Care Unit at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt from Dec. 11, 2006, to Jan. 5, 2007. He was transferred to Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital, and was discharged on Feb. 22.

The Durham family will be among special guests at LifeFlight’s celebration taking place at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. The celebration, titled “Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s Golden Hour,” is being held in a private hangar at the Nashville International Airport. The event recognizes LifeFlight’s commitment to the Middle Tennessee community. The event, chaired by Cathryn and Billy Rolfe, will focus on Vanderbilt’s dedicated trauma system.

“The helicopter and fixed wing are just tools that are used in treating/transporting victims of trauma and are one aspect of the entire program,” said John A. Morris Jr., M.D. and director of the Division of Trauma & Surgical Critical Care at Vanderbilt. “We’ve identified more than 700 providers that are part of one person’s chain of care – from the 911 operator to the staff who cleans the rooms. “Ulysses is just one example of a system put into place that is saving lives every day.”

Vanderbilt Medical Center provided over $200 million in charity and uncompensated medical care in 2007, with more than $50 million of that amount provided by Vanderbilt’s trauma system.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight began in June 1984 with a Bell 206 Long Range helicopter and flew its first flight on July 5, 1984. Today, Vanderbilt LifeFlight has five helicopters with bases in Lebanon, Clarksville, Mt. Pleasant and Tullahoma. LifeFlight utilizes three American Eurocopter EC-145 helicopters, two American Eurocopter BK-117 helicopters, a King Air 200 fixed wing aircraft and specialized neonatal critical care ambulances. Air Methods Corporation operates the helicopters, and fixed wing services are provided by Seven Bar.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight is the only Tennessee air ambulance program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS), the only accreditation agency to offer worldwide standards for ground, helicopter and fixed wing medical transport systems.

Ulysses Durham, critically injured in a bicycle accident last December gets a visit at his school from Vanderbilt LifeFlight nurses and members of the Rutherford County EMS who helped save his life.

In honor of Tennessee’s Vanderbilt LifeFlight Day, Vanderbilt LifeFlight will fly to Blackman Middle School to see Ulysses Durham and his classmates. Flight nurses Sheldon Dreaddy and Chris Rediker, the team who helped save Durham, will talk about Ulysses’ accident and the importance of wearing bicycle helmets. Rutherford County Paramedics David Meador and Jennifer King have also been invited.

Tuesday, Oct. 9
Vanderbilt LifeFlight is scheduled to land at the school at 10:15 a.m. Media is advised to be in place by 10 a.m. The helicopter is scheduled to leave by 11:30 a.m.

Blackman Middle School
3945 Blaze Drive
Murfreesboro, Tenn. 37128
(615) 904-3860

Take I-24 to exit 76.
From exit 76, turn right and go to Mansion Pike.
At first intersection, take Fortress Boulevard (on left)
Turn right at the first traffic light. This is Blaze Drive.
Blackman Middle School is on the left. (Across from Blackman High School).

Media Contacts: Jerry Jones or John Howser – Vanderbilt (615) 322-4747
Kathy Richardson – Blackman Middle School (615) 904-3860

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