Archive for Saturday, December 19, 2009

Two injured in fall early Saturday

December 19, 2009, 4:03 a.m. Updated December 19, 2009, 12:00 p.m.


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Retaining wall, 9th and Emery

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Two 20-year-old Lawrence women were transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital early Saturday after falling from a retaining wall near the intersection of Ninth and Emery.

According to Sgt. Damon Thomas from the Lawrence Police, the two women fell over the retaining wall after climbing a chain-link fence. Thomas said they fell 15 feet.

One of the women suffered a back injury, while the other sustained a skull fracture during the incident. Thomas said the women had been consuming alcohol prior to the incident.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Division Chief Rob Kort said the incident occurred about 1:21 a.m. Seven minutes later, personnel at the scene requested an air ambulance to transport at least one person. Emergency dispatchers made multiple calls to air ambulance services but none were able to assist because of low visibility in the area.

Both patients were transported by ground ambulance to Lawrence Memorial Hospital about 1:35 a.m. Kort said both patients were then transported to KU Medical Center.

Information regarding the patients and their conditions was not available Saturday evening.

Check back at for more information as it becomes available.


John Hamm 8 years, 6 months ago

"made multiple calls to air ambulance services but none were able to assist " result first call (for transport) at 1:19 actually transported at 1:35. 16 minutes time elapsed...... When a ground unit could've been there much quicker. Are we starting to rely too much on air transport?

50YearResident 8 years, 6 months ago

LMH rated tops over 500+ Hospitals but have to Air Ambulance fall victims to KC or Topeka? Doesn't make much sence does it?

corey872 8 years, 6 months ago

True, the article doesn't make it clear if LMH was the intended destination, or second choice based on lack of air service. LMH is less than a mile north of Ninth and Emery - I would think ground ambulance would be much quicker under any circumstances. But if the intent was to head to KC, even a 16 minute delay waiting for a helicopter could easily be made up in the air.

compmd 8 years, 6 months ago

A pilot would have to be suicidal to try and fly in the conditions this morning. Mist, icing pireps, overcast at 1000. Maybe first responders should read metars before losing time calling for air ambulances when there is no way a helicopter could safely fly.

Also, at 9th and Emery, where would the helicopter land?

devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

50year, modern medicine is a constant march toward specialization. Even emergency rooms are split into 4 subgroups.
40 years ago ers were staffed by nurses and an orderly or two. Today they are staffed full time by specialized doctors. Triage is done in the field by paramedics who communicate with doctors. Sometimes doctors ride in the ambulance as well.

Emergency facilities are rated on the basis of level of care available. LMH is not a level 1 trauma center. We would have to maintain a much larger surgery center for that. We can't do open heart, pediatric, or brain surgery at LMH. Nor are we likely to get those capabilities. KU hospital is 40 miles away. They have a level 1 trauma. They can do all the latest in procedures on anybody.

My guess is that the folks who fell had head trauma. Off to a level 1 trauma they go.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 6 months ago

"LMH is a good community hospital, but they are not a Level I trauma center, which a person who falls and sustains life-threatening injuries needs."

No, and they never will be a Level 1 trauma center. I tire quickly of that response. That is not the issue.

I too am very curious about the volume of air ambulance transfers out of the city. I do not believe that the same proportion of cases are air flighted from Salina, Emporia, Hays, Pittsburgh, Great Bend or Garden City.

Mike Wagner 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm sorry but it's really hard for me to feel sorry for drunks when they hurt themselves!

bearded_gnome 8 years, 6 months ago

50YearResident (Anonymous) says…

LMH rated tops over 500+ Hospitals but have to Air Ambulance fall victims to KC or Topeka? Doesn't make much sence does it?

---uh, I bet the drunks (they were likely drunk there at that time of night) *didn't need emergency cardiac care which is your ref.

------I think those other cities have vastly different populations than does Lawrence. plus, it just makes sense for us to get trauma victims to KC it being as close as it is.

amazing the ignorance on here by BC, 50, et al about trauma centers.

yes Cheeseburger, the cost to build and operate the necessary level of trauma center for the relatively small number of patients in our community just doesn't add up.

on the other hand, we have a suicide crisis here in Lawrence, and we do need mental health ward at lmh.

Dixie Jones 8 years, 6 months ago

wow i must not of read the same story as mike did, no where in mine did it say anyone was drunk , drinking or otherwise, you know what they say about ASSUME mike,.....

workinghard 8 years, 6 months ago

"on the other hand, we have a suicide crisis here in Lawrence, and we do need mental health ward at lmh." Couldn't agree more, this should be a first priority for LMH. Sometimes I wonder what is going on behind the scenes, someone is pulling the strings here and keeping a mental ward out.

firemedic301 8 years, 6 months ago

Oonly, It took 7 minutes for the crews to arrive on scene, assess the patients and determine that they needed a higher level of definitive care than what LMH could handle. IMO LDCFM should be applauded for that quick response and rapid assessment of two critical patients in the middle of the night. 16 minutes from when LDCFM was dispatched to when they were transporting is within most accepted guidelines for critical trauma care. Instructers teach of the "platinum 10 rule" to have a 10 minute time on the scene with a critical patient before transporting. Unless you are in this line of work, you have no idea how difficult it is to try to properly package a patient to decrease the chance of causing further neurological harm to the patient in the middle of the night on a darkened street, especially if they are combative due to a head injury, drugs or alcohol or a combo of the above. On top of that you need to establish and secure IV's for fluid resuscitiation and or give meds, control the person's airway, etc..
As to compmd's comment cheeseburger hit the nail on the head. I know when the tones go off for any emergency I'm not going to stop and take the 2-3 minutes to pull up the internet and check the weather forecast, and I don't think you would want the delay if it was you or someone you knew. Most services ask their dispatch center to inquire availability and they let us know if any units are available. This takes one less thing that the medic's and EMT's have to deal with directly. As to Corey's comment, IMO LMH was not the first choice because they did call for air ambulance transport. However due to the weather that was not an option. It's obvious that LMH is not a trauma center, but they are a hospital and can at least stabilize the patients enough until a helicopter is available or the patient is stable enough for ground transport. Without knowing all the details the patients could have needed advanced airway treatment to secure an airway, control a major hemorrhage, etc.
Devo, you headed in the right direction, but surgery is only one part of the Trauma Center criteria. There also is the need for further personnel in CT, radiology, ortho, etc, etc. I don't understand why people on here still complain about LMH not being a trauma center. It's fairly obvious that they are not even considering it. Why spend the HUGE amounts of money for the training, staff and equipment when they have a level 1 and multiple level 2's within 45 minutes by ground or 10 minutes by air. Instead LMH is smart by expanding their non emergent treatment areas (i.e. cancer center, heart center, etc, etc) to further expand and assist the community.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 6 months ago

cheeseburger You are right. Okay, everyone read what he wrote and memorize it. peachencream people around here assume if you are out side after dark you must be drunk or crazy. No one leaves the house after dark. got it? Not unless you are looking for trouble. (sarcasm)

Sheila Martin 8 years, 6 months ago

What is the closest bar to this location? Do they have a smoking patio? Doing research on accidents concerning folks who are outside venues in communities with strict smoking bans. This incident is interesting due to the time and weather conditions. Also, that two women were involved.

Twamp_Diesel 8 years, 6 months ago

I just want to applaud and thank LDCFM and the work they do. Some on here may not agree or understand why certain patients are life flighted to centers outside of Lawrence, but you perform your job above the most excellent of standards.

I know first hand as a critical trauma patient who suffered life threatening injuries. LDCFM responded appropriately, and I was life flighted to KU med center. The surgeons initially gave me little to no chance of survival. The specialists there were able to save my life though. Because of LDCFM's quick decisions and appropriate actions, along with the KU MED staff, I am alive today.

So before you question their decisions, think first if it was you or a loved one of yours who was in this condition. You wouldn't care where they were life flighted to as long as they were alive!

KansasPerson 8 years, 6 months ago

I was rather sleepy when I was listening to the radio at 7:00 this morning, but I have a vague memory of them saying it was "two girls" and that they'd actually been attempting to CLIMB the wall. (I am sorry if this counts as spreading possible misinformation as I'd just woken up at the time and am not sure I have these details correct..... was anyone else listening to KLWN this morning?)

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 6 months ago

cheeseburger (Anonymous) says…"That is most certainly the issue, Boston! Have you any clue as to the amount of money that would have to be expended to make LMH a Level I trauma center?"

Actually I do, and that is why I said that is not the question. Kansas only has three ACS designated Level 1's, and Lawrence will never ever be even close. It is a community hospital.

If the standard of care for all these patients requires Level 1 trauma centers, and assuming that air transportation is not used as frequently in other locales, does this mean that Kansas citizens in Salina, Emporia, Pittsburg, Hays, and Garden are receiving substandard care for trauma incidents?

firemedic301 8 years, 6 months ago

Boston, My wife is from Salina and keeping track on things out there they transfer their criticals to Wichita. Emporia and Hays do as well. I believe Garden City transfers their criticals to Denver. I used to work in Independence KS and our traumas were either sent by air to Wichita or Springfield MO, every once in a great while to Tulsa OK. Hays, Dodge City, and the cities out west actually use fixed wing transports due to the extended flights rather than helicopters.

Susan Lee 8 years, 6 months ago

Too bad LMH spent so much of their $ on their fancy-schmancy decor....

They really need a mental health unit again.Because of the way people drive / drink / act in Lawrence they really need a trauma unit also.

*Firemedic, I live in Salina. One reason for so many transports is that there is a lack of competent workers in the ICU unit - and that is a quote from my physician.

gccs14r 8 years, 6 months ago

Coast Guard choppers fly in some unbelievably horrible weather and routinely pluck people from the decks of rolling ships and out of the water. I don't understand why civilian air ambulance services are so limited in their operational capabilities.

firemedic301 8 years, 6 months ago

gccs14r, probably because the price is 4-5 times more expensive for the military choppers than the ones the local services use. On top of that most flight services in the country don't have night vision goggles and the other advanced tools that the military have at their disposal. I also believe there is a big difference in rules and regs for military vs. civilian flight. Scattered I'm not disputing that, her family has had issues in the past, I'm just saying where they end up.

BMI 8 years, 6 months ago

Scattered (Anonymous) says…

Too bad LMH spent so much of their $ on their fancy-schmancy decor….

I disagree. Anytime a facility rebuilds or remodels, it should be done to current standards using modern designs and materials. Sure, those walls could all be drab and cheap as could the floors. No wallpaper, no carpet, the same color on every floor. You've seen pictures of old hospitals in less affluent world countries, and very old hospitals in the US. Do you feel good about the care when you see those photos on the news? Have you ever spent much time in a hospital? Ever been treated at one? I have, and can tell you the effects of having a nice facility does wonders for everyone involved. The patients, the families and the staff. It also helps attract better staff in the first place and encourages people to take better care of the facility, both the public and employees.

firemedic301 8 years, 6 months ago

Notjust, no it's not training. Most of the pilots for the area services are former military or civilain with thousands of flight hours of experience. It is because of the the equipment available to them including the helicopter and civilian policy regulated by the FAA. Check out the years of experience on Lifestar's pilots:

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 6 months ago

firemedic301 (Anonymous) says…"Boston, My wife is from Salina and keeping track on things out there they transfer their criticals to Wichita. Emporia and Hays...."

Thanks firemedic. Yes, I am familiar the geographic referrals patterns from these cities, but I still am curious about the proportion of referrals made to Level 1's centers vis-a-vis those areas compared to Lawrence. I have a suspicion that local emergency medical treatment protocols are different or are being applied or interpreted differently.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 6 months ago

cheeseburger (Anonymous) says… "Substandard? I wouldn't say that, Boston. Are we very fortunate to be quite proximal to facilities which have advanced life-sustaining capabilities? Absolutely!

Understand. We are fortunate. So I guess you agree there may be a difference between the quality of care?

So in terms of what we expect from a health care system: we have a system where insurance policy holders reimburse Lawrence citizens for $15,000 air ambulance rides for fractured legs when holders of the exact same injury with the exact same policy living in Salina or Hays do not get an air ambulance ride to a level 1 trauma center?

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 6 months ago

firemedic301 (Anonymous) says… "gccs14r, probably because the price is 4-5 times more expensive..."

or even more.

Passerby 8 years, 6 months ago

Big Mike, You are obviously missing the point. The point is that two girls were seriously injured. Their consuming alcohol in no way makes them deserving of this.

Marion, drive around the area at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and you will see plenty of kids on that wall. Many kids use that as a short cut on their way home from school.

And Sierraclub, you're right. They probably will get sued, and they will probably either lose or settle the case because any moron who drives by the area will see that the landscape is not safe.

All three of you are lacking a little compassion.

riverdrifter 8 years, 6 months ago

Guess what those Coast Guard recue choppers are called?! And, yes, there is only a handful of them in the world and they must be very hi-dollar to purchase, crew and maintain. I saw them at work in SE Alaska and they were awesome. I sure hope these kids come out of this OK.

devobrun 8 years, 6 months ago

Boston, I'm trying to figure out your complaint. It seems that you are criticizing the number of air transfers out of Lawrence.
This in response to a spinal injury and a fractured skull? Or do you know of other life-flights that occurred outside some protocol? I'm pretty sure that is not the case in this instance.
Are paramedic responses way way way over the top relative to 40 years ago? You bet. Are lawsuits a reason for this? Yep.

About 45 years ago I fell while running through a field at 10:00 at night. After recovering consciousness, I walked home where my dad looked at my arm and said, it was probably broken. He got some Styrofoam, an Ace bandage, wrapped it up. Gave me a Darvon and told me we'd go into the doc in the morning.

Today, ambulances, fire trucks, morphine......all hell would break loose. I didn't sue the farmer. I didn't sue the hospital. I used my cast as a baseball bat the next week.

Different time.

mcontrary 8 years, 6 months ago

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lawrence11 8 years, 6 months ago

Neither of these girls are in sororities.

And please remember what is actually important right now: two girls are seriously injured. It isn't appropriate to be petty and make jokes.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 6 months ago

devobrun (Anonymous) says…"Boston, I'm trying to figure out your complaint. It seems that you are criticizing the number of air transfers out of Lawrence. This in response to a spinal injury and a fractured skull?..."

Thanks for your kind question. I am certainly not complaining about this particular incident. Spinal and head injuries are extremely important, and should obviously be primary for air transport and highly specialized trauma center care. And obviously the practice of medicine, the continued specialization of medicine, etc has continued to evolve, as have expectations of the standards of care.

But yes, I have noticed reports of air ambulance transportation for incidents in Lawrence for injuries which I wonder whether in some other areas of the state would result in the same almost automatic 15-20K health care transportation bill instead of treatment in a community hospital. These additional costs are all eventually borne by us as policy holders and taxpayers.

No, this is not a tort-insurance cost issue. That is just passing the buck excuse from health providers. If medical protocols require level 1 trauma center treatment, are the folks from Smith Center ignored? Shouldn't the standard of care in Salina/Hays and Lawrence be the same? Perhaps that is exactly what happens. I just suspect not, based on what I see and know. I invite someone to prove me wrong with data.

Others on these boards have created the discussion on the high rate of air transport from Lawrence Not me. I do not know the answers. But I am interested in more information.

I do wonder whether the high rate of air transport here results from the proximity of high quality care in KC which other Kansas citizens are not proximate to, and perhaps are subsidizing.

It's a fair question. And this is not about me assuming Lawrence will ever be a Level 1 (or 2) trauma hospital. (I do not, cheeseburger) I am wondering if Lawrence is not blessed at the expense of other Kansas taxpayers and policy holders, and just should admit its superior access to health care at the expense of others.

Passerby 8 years, 6 months ago

Cheeseburger states... "I'm sorry this event occurred, but I'm not sure your statement is correct, given that a person who was not illegally tanked likely would not have participated in the same dangerous and risky behaviors."

Neither of the girls was "tanked." The article states that alcohol was involved, it does not say that either of them were drunk. Yes, because they are underage it is illegal for them to have any amount of alcohol in their system (which is why the LJ World added this information), but since only 2 people actually know the whole story I don't think it is fair for anyone to say that they were belligerent and stumbling. They made a bad decision, but that does not make them or their families deserving of the pain and fear they are experiencing.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 6 months ago

Keep retaining walls, but there should be a ten foot capacity limit and make them less scary looking.

if ownership of retaining walls is outlawed, then only outlaw cities will have retaining walls.

... or, should we require a waiting period before installation of a retaining wall?

Okay, now I see BC's point and it is a proper one, it now turns out.

I also wonder if part of why the level of care at LMH is what it is precisely because of the proximity of the big gun care centers in KC. thus, across central an western kansas, at further distance from level 1 centers, do the locals then sometimes have more advanced options? I doubt that.

yes, if they were drinking as seems likely, it is our business. yes, they need the best care possible and should be given every chance to heal and recover. and, one hopes, learn from their mistake. thus, others might learn about the risks of drunkenness too!

so, it is my business. I live by two streets. two streets possibly driven by drunk drivers most especially from say midnight to 4a.m. if one of them crashes into my house, do I excuse their drunk driving? no. did he or she make a wrong choice, yes.
seems likely these girls had a hand in their own risk and their own injuries. sure wish it hadn't happened. sure wish it doesn't happen to others.

Shelbyrules 8 years, 6 months ago

Holy crap. Everyone shut up. Send your thoughts to these girls and their parents.

slowplay 8 years, 6 months ago

Another accident, another round of whining by the same old group. I swear, these blogs are becoming useless. There used to be some good, topical discussions but it's become nothing more than a complaint forum for the semi-literate who now have an audience for their rants. I really think LJWorld should eliminate anonymous postings.

Hallie36 8 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps people should get their facts straight before they comment. I'm guessing the majority of people leaving these comments didn't bother to think that one of these "drunks" might actually have family members looking for answers. Maybe instead of criticizing the person that suffered in this horrbile accident, you should turn your attention to finding the several people that walked OVER the two girls laying on the sidewalk instead of trying to help. And also, the information in this story is not accurate. I really wish people would think before the speak... or type.

notjustastudent 8 years, 6 months ago

Hallie36- no where in this article does it say that anyone walked over these girls without helping, so how could people turn their attention to this action if they were unaware it happened? If your information is correct, you should be contacting the police yourself, as well as the editors/writers of the story, not posting the information in the comments section. Really. Bad. Idea. If you have contacted them, great. Let them deal with the information in the way they see fit. They are professionals, after all.

That being said, alcohol or no, there are people in this world who do these sorts of things sober. I know one who died as a result (he had been drinking, but he did crazy stuff all the time when he was sober). Because of public outrage, they arrested a few friends hosting the party, but the charges were eventually dropped as they could find no evidence he was served, and only further evidence that he would have died regardless of alcohol. Good luck to these girls and their families- I'll be praying for full, speedy recoveries.

Calliope877 8 years, 6 months ago

I live in the area. I see kids AND adults walking on that wall all the time.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 6 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…"In using the zoom feature on the Google map..."

Once again, we learn that the real source of Marion's wisdom is his Google search box

been_there 8 years, 6 months ago

Way to go LJW, hope to see more of restricting comments on sensitive stories in the future.

jayhwkfan4life 8 years, 6 months ago

Thought and prayers go out to these girls and their families!! I am close to one of the girls who was involved in this accident. She is a responsible women who really isnt a big party girl, at all. The report simply says "the women had been consuming alcohol prior to the incident." That could be one drink for pete's sake! For you "bloggers" to sit here and criticize what happened and what kind of people they are, when there are two young women who's life is in danger is pathetic! Happy Holidays to you all and I hope none of you or your family members are ever in such a horrible accident like this!

acg 8 years, 6 months ago

Hope these girls are okay. Accidents could happen to any of us, tipsy or not. I can't believe the attitudes some of you have. Every time something bad happens the vultures come out and circle and pick it apart and blame, blame, blame. It grosses me out. In the words of Roseanne "great, you have opinions. Now shut up about 'em!!"

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