Ethan Fields: “Every second counted”

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A leisurely ATV ride turned into a horrific medical emergency for a Portal, Ga., family and their 9-year-old son, Ethan Fields.

Ethan suffered two skull fractures and a broken neck after falling off a Kawasaki mule while riding with his father, John, and three of his siblings.

Ethan’s mother, Misty, said her son was riding on the back of a mule being driven by his father along a road in Portal. Ethan slid off the side of the mule, with his head hitting the pavement with a sickening thud. John called 911, and a ground ambulance crew was soon on the scene administering to the child.

“The back of his head started swelling like a grapefruit, and his breathing was shallow,” explained Misty. “They knew he was badly injured and needed to get to a hospital as quickly as possible.”

An Air Evac Lifeteam crew from Statesboro, Ga., was called to the scene and flew the critical boy to Savannah Children’s Hospital in Savannah, Ga.

Air ambulances are known for their ability to provide rapid transport in medical emergencies such as this, and Air Evac Lifeteam more than lived up to its mission in the eyes of Ethan’s mothers.

“Every second counted in Ethan’s case.  Literally, every second,” said Misty Fields, Ethan’s Mom

A CT scan at the children’s hospital revealed two skull fractures, a broken neck, and significant brain swelling. The initial prognosis wasn’t good,” said Misty. “We were told they weren’t sure if he was going to pull through,” she said.

After putting Ethan into a medically-induced coma, doctors installed a bolt in the boy’s skull to further reduce the swelling. Ethan stayed in a coma seven days, a period of time that Misty said was “impossible to describe. It was just terrible.” Ethan also contracted meningitis during this time, and the Fields family was still unsure of Ethan’s mental and physical condition once awakened from the coma. “There were so many ups and downs, it was just a roller coaster ride,” said Misty.

Ethan, however, proved resilient and strong. After being removed from the coma and the haze from the sedation lifted, doctors discovered he had suffered no loss of memory or motor skill function. “His neurosurgeon would just stand there and say ‘this is amazing.’”

After a 16-day hospital stay, Ethan was released and returned home to Portal. He is back to being his normal, active self. In fact, Ethan’s resilient spirit was on display for the Air Evac Lifeteam crew of flight nurse Debra Carter, flight paramedic Brian Cobb and pilot Scott Beslin when the Fields family visited the base a few weeks later.

Misty Fields said she has true appreciation for the skill and talent of Air Evac Lifeteam crews after seeing their quick response following Ethan’s accident.

“I’m just so grateful to Air Evac for what they did for Ethan,” she said.

Submitted by Air Evac Lifeteam