Chicago, IL – A week ago, Dr. Theresa Louise-Bender Pape, Deputy Associate Chief of Staff and Clinical Neuroscientist at the Edward Hines JR VA Hospital, was ready to give up.
For months, she had been attempting to secure medical air transport for U.S. Army Sergeant Jordan Adams, who was languishing in a coma in California after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a stateside accident. Dr. Pape’s innovative treatment could potentially save the man’s life, yet it remained beyond the reach of his distraught family, for the simple reason that his military health coverage did not cover the cost of air ambulance transport for experimental treatment.
Then she spoke to ER Physician and VitalOne Medical Director Robert Glatter, who in turn contacted Isaac Leider, VitalOne Founder and Director. Within twenty-four hours, the trip was arranged. On Monday, January 5, VitalOne flew Sergeant Adams to Chicago for transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS). Fishel Litzman, Paramedic Supervisor of the operation and an NYPD Police Officer, said, “The doctor was actually waiting at the hospital as we arrived and they took Sergeant Adams in right away for the treatment. Hopefully, we will see wonderful results.”
Mr. Litzman’s team was a vital component of the delicate operation, equipped and ready to respond to any in-transit emergency. “We are delighted and ecstatic to be part of this,” he said. “We all signed on voluntarily. We want to give back. We’re about doing the right thing, for the right reasons, and this is a tremendous honor to us personally.”
In this case, “us” is a team of three highly-trained critical care staff — Yitzy Goldsmith, BSN, RN, EMT-B, Fishel Litzman, Paramedic Supervisor/NYPD Police Officer and David Zidell, Respiratory Therapist/Paramedic. They flew from New York to California, in order to accompany Jordan throughout the transport, providing bedside to bedside medical care, free of charge. Once in California they transferred and escorted the Sergeant and his parents to the airport where they boarded a Falcon 900 jet donated by a Chicago philanthropist.
Mr. Leider was waiting at the hangar in Chicago when the transport touched down, along with a crowd of nurses and doctors, who greeted the plane with cheers and clapping. Sergeant Adams’ mother tearfully expressed her thanks to Mr. Leider and his company, calling the Flight Crew her “three angels.” Chicago Hatzalah members joined forces with the VitalOne transport team and together they completed the seamless transfer to Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital.
“Knowing that this young hero’s only chance of recovery was impossible just because of logistics was unacceptable,” stated Mr. Leider. “We are very proud to have orchestrated this complex transport and donated our services to ensure Sergeant Adams receives the best treatment available.”