Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dr James (Red) Duke - How I Met Him.

Trauma Surgeon Dr. Red Duke died yesterday. What a great man. He created LifeLight hospital helicopter service in Houston TX, which spread across the nation. I met him once. Here's the story.

On Aug 29, 1988, my brother was flown to Hermann Hospital via LifeLight. He had several bullets in him, head & torso. Shot by a robber during armed burglary of my family's business.

Dr. Duke designed the Lifeflight service specifically to help people suffering from urgent, traumatic injuries like my brother Mark's. The helicopter arrived at my family's workplace within minutes after it was reported to police. He was still alive, riddled with bullets, when the helicopter medic team flew him to Hermann Hospital. My dad called Lifelight "the big red bird".

The hospital tried to help my brother. His head injuries were same as Rep. Gabby Giffords' after the Tucson shooting. Fortunately for Giffords, by 2010 amazing medical developments were created to assist patients with severe brain injuries; brain trauma caused by gunshots. In 1988, that wasn't the case. My brother Mark didn't survive. Hospital tried but he lacked sufficient brain matter for surgery. He died later that night.

About a month later, I went solo to thank the Lifelight team. They tried. They did their best. Walking to their office, I saw Dr Red Duke. I stopped him in the hallway. Shook his hand, thanked him for creating Life light helicopter system.
He said "I'm so sorry about your brother & sister. Horrible tragedy. Worst thing possible. Words can't express our sorrows. We tried our best." (My sister Kara was pronounced dead at the scene.)

Holding back tears, I said "thank you. You're the best."

He said "I'm only human. Just like you. Take care of your parents. Worst thing a parent can go through." Then his beeper went off and we parted ways.

I stepped into the office for Lifelight, located in the basement of the hospital near the helipad. I thanked every single person in that office; the medics, the pilot and the administrative assistant at the desk. Called in sick to work the rest of the day. Drove to a nearby park, cried, prayed and thanked God for all good people & all good things.

Good people do good things. Great people do great things. God helps them. God helps those who help others and help themselves.

Here are some links about the great Dr. Red Duke. God built a special place for him. He is there now. Those of us, whose lives he touched, are forever grateful and feel especially blessed by his presence in this world.
Dallas Morning News
Houston Chronicle


Namaste -
Robin Amanda Kelley
Sedona Spirit Psychic

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