5 years of STARS; patients recall experiences

By Britton Gray/CJME News Staff
April 25, 2017 - 7:27am

When emergency strikes, every second counts.

STARS Air Ambulance has been able to ensure people receive the medical attention needed to save their lives for five years within Saskatchewan.

The emergency rescue service celebrated its anniversary on Monday.

Carrie Derin, a Regina resident, was the first STARS patient in the province back in 2012.

She was on a family quadding trip in Moose Mountain Provincial Park. Derin hadn't noticed a log in the road and the log impaled her abdomen.

She said her husband had gotten help and when EMS was brought to the scene, STARS had been dispatched.

She had to receive blood in the helicopter as she was getting transported to the hospital. She said she only had one thing going through her mind during the airlift.

“My kids, what's life going to be like for them when if I don't get there,” Derin said.

Raegan Gardner is a flight nurse with STARS and was one of the first responders to Derin's emergency.

“When we first encountered Carrie in the back of the ambulance, it was really apparent that she was critically ill so we knew that time was going to be really important,” Gardner said.

Derin made it to the Hospital and recovered. Ever since the incident, Derin and Gardner have remained close.

“I consider Carrie almost a part of the family now and I think she feels the same way.”

Derin's story wasn't the only one shared during the fifth anniversary of STARS.

Garfield Beaudry was cutting wood on his farm located south of Raymore, a community located 112 kilometres north of Regina, back in 2012.

He was set to go for lunch with a neighbour and when the neighbour came to pick him and he said that's when he passed out.

Beaudry awoke in the hospital where Doctors put in a heart pacer. He said having STARS was a difference between life and death.

“I was down to 20 beats a minute,” Beaudry said.

Derin added this service is absolutely essential to the province.

“Nobody thinks anything bad's going to happen. From heart attacks in rural Saskatchewan to major car accidents, you have a couple extra seconds here or there makes a big difference in your outcome.”


During the fifth anniversary celebration for STARS, the government of Saskatchewan announced the program will be receiving $20.5 million in funding from the government.

The Ministry of Health will be providing $10.5 million for the 2017-18 year. The funding agreement between STARS and the Crown corporation within the province was also renewed for five years. The rescue service will receive $10 million, or $2 million from each Crown, over the course of the agreement.


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On Twitter: @BrittonGray

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