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Delta Health Emergency Department’s Quick Thinking Lands Helicopter in the Street During Critical Situation

Aug 26, 2019News

Delta, CO (August 26, 2019) – On August 21, 19-year-old Troy Rubalcaba was helicoptered to Delta Health (Delta Health) after going into anaphylactic shock due to severe bee stings while working in the mountains an hour and a half outside Glenwood with his brother Raul Rubalcaba.

Due to poor cell phone service the helicopter pilot emailed the hospital stating that there was a passenger having a reaction and that his throat was closing. The hospital didn’t have a way to communicate back to the pilot and had to get in touch through the air traffic controller at the airport.

“We notified the air traffic controllers that we had the fire department closing the road so that they could land the [helicopter] at the hospital,” said Karen Lyons, the Director of Trauma/Emergency/ICU Services at Delta Health. “We didn’t know how big their helicopter was and if our pad could accommodate, but we all knew the urgency of the situation and that Rubalcaba needed help immediately.”

The helicopter was able to safely land in the road in front of Urgent Care on Stafford Road and the Emergency Department (ED) team was outside waiting for Troy to arrive. Once they landed, Lyons said that the ED began live saving treatments

When asked how his experience at Delta Health was, Raul said, “It’s like they really care.”

The brothers work for Colt I & E, LLC based out of Texas and travel around the country to work. Troy said that he normally keeps his EpiPen on him, but this time he left it at home.

“There was a beehive where my brother and I were working, but I didn’t see it,” said Troy. “I fell down next to it and that’s when they started stinging me. I thought I was going to die. My throat started to close.”

Raul was the one carrying the radio and immediately called for help when he saw that his brother was shaking, going into anaphylactic shock. He was afraid for his brother.

“I am more than happy that my brother was there [to help call it in],” said Troy.

Troy said that this has happened once before in Florida where he went into anaphylactic shock while on the job. The brothers are headed to South Carolina next for work and hope that this trip will be hospital free.

Although a scary day for the Rubalcaba brothers, the fast response time and team work shown by the hospital, air traffic control and the fire department saved a life.

“Rubalcaba is now stable and will be discharged home from the ED,” said Lyons. “All in a day’s work at a rural Emergency Department.”

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