2017-05-18 / Voices


Dear Editor,

I want to tell you about my experience with needing a medical flight home. My husband Stacy DeWolfe Shedeed became very sick recently. He was so sick that the doctors in Rapid City said they could do no more for him. As a result we were sent to the University of Colorado hospital. By the third day of being in Denver. My husband was already showing major improvements. His breathing level came down from a 12 to a level 8. And his fever had broke. He was eating and acting almost normal again. But then one doctor decided that he needed a biopsy of Stacy’s lungs. This was the biggest mistake ever. In the process of this “ simple” procedure. The doctor punctured a hole in my husbands lung. This caused his right lung to collapse. The doctors had to put a chest tube in my husband to try to inflate his lungs. But the during the procedure the doctor also caused the cancer to spread by disturbing it. Then the doctors throw there hands in the air and say he is not gonna live much longer. He probably has 2 to 10 days left. You can only imagine the fear I felt at that moment. I knew right then. We had to get home and fast. Post surgery my husband wast breathing on a level 15 and he was not gonna improve. We needed an air ambulance because that was the only way my husband would make the trip. Knowing I did not have the financial means to pay for a medical flight myself. We struggled to find a local air ambulance service who could provide Advanced Life Support transport for our husband/father from the University of Colorado Denver to a local healthcare facility. Our requests were met with concerns about financial responsibility and availability of crews and aircraft. Thankfully the folks with 7 Bar Aviation, Rural Healthcare Logistics and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Ambulance Service answered our request with a high level of professionalism and compassion. These people have helped me in many ways they don’t realize. They knew that my husband was terminal, yet they still helped. They got us here, and back to South Dakota and I didn’t end up with a huge plane debt that would haunt me the rest of my life.

Because they flew us home, my family and I, have been able to love and enjoy my husband, their daddy/uncle/friend everyday since. The power of prayer is all husband has received as treatment for his illness. Since the doctors gave him a timeline in Denver. That has been 25 days ago.

I truly believe that because we were able to come home and be with the people who really care for us. my husband is still alive and doing better. Our prayers are being answered.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story,

-Deb Swallow-Shedeed
Oglala District Member
Cuny Table, SD.

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