I work at the rival hospital down the road from The Blue Devils home base. But today all of North Carolina is in mourning for the loss Duke experienced yesterday. One of their Life Flight choppers went down, all souls lost.

This hits my heart on more levels than I can adequately express here, but I need to try. I need people who haven’t been involved in healthcare to understand what this event means.

First — I’ve flown on a Life Flight medical evacuation when my child was a patient. A Pittsburgh crew came and picked us up and took her back to her transplant center for one of those many post transplant complications I wrote about yesterday. MY CHILD has been a patient on one of those flights. There but for The Grace. And when that thought rolls around in your mind for a bit, your heart aches for the family of the patient lost. For they are the most vulnerable victim here. Already sick and desperately ill to need the services of Life Flight — with a frightened and worried family left on the ground. For us, my family left behind to follow via ground transportation heaved a sigh of relief that we were on our way to a higher level of care and the ‘right’ people. Seeing the take off and knowing my child was in the capable hands of the nurses from said facility was a load off our minds. To have to face the news that relief had turned to tragedy is simply cruel beyond belief.

Then — the loss of the crew. Fellow nurses and the pilot. People for whom putting their lives on the line in this manner has become so routine no one — NO ONE — ever expects to lose any of them. We fly people all over the place to transport patients, surgeons, organ procurement personnel, and organs for transplant and never even consider this outcome. Every day. Across this county hundreds of flights a day, maybe thousands. Their families consider it, I’m sure. It happens, but no one can think about it too much. Or else they could not do what they do. The flight crews I’ve met wouldn’t want to do anything else.

I’ve worked as an ICU nurse and an OR nurse for a long time. My time in both departments has formed my personal philosophy on death. I’ve seen patients live who should have died. However, I’ve seen patients die who should have lived. And it gave me the sense simply stated, that no one dies before their time, but when it is your time — no matter where you are, its done.

Someone else is in charge of that system. Not us. And no explanations are ever offered.

Right here and right now, we mourn together with Duke. Even those of us who wear the other color blue. I saw it on FaceBook and I thought it well said.

Today — all of us are Duke Fans.

May all the families left here on the ground find peace.

Self discovery in progress, stay tuned

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