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METRO LIFE FLIGHT ANNIVERSARY TO REUNITE PATIENTS, FLIGHT CREWS WHO CARED FOR THEM

 METRO LIFE FLIGHT ANNIVERSARY TO REUNITE
 PATIENTS, FLIGHT CREWS WHO CARED FOR THEM
 CLEVELAND, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Each week, Paul Shafer makes the 168-mile, round-trip drive from his Mansfield home to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he volunteers in the Burn Intensive Care Unit.
 To Shafer, the long commute is "no chore at all." He's been doing it ever since a chance encounter with a burn patient ended with the patient saying, "You will come back and seem me again, won't you?"
 Shafer knows how that patient felt. Critically burned in December 1986 when a 100-ton electric arc furnace exploded at the steel mill where he works, Shafer was rushed to MetroHealth by Metro Life Flight, the air medical transport service. He spent seven weeks in the burn unit.
 Shafer is among those expected to attend Metro Life Flight's 10th- anniversary reunion at MetroHealth Medical Center from 2 to 5 p.m., Aug. 30. A mailing of invitations to former patients and staff has elicited more than 2,500 responses to date.
 The festive event, to be held on the first floor of the South Parking Garage, will feature food, clowns, mimes, a barbershop quartet, a Dixieland band, balloons, commemorative T-shirts, a brief program and the afternoon's highlight: the opportunity for patients to meet with the crew members who transported them.
 That's what Paul Shafer is anticipating. He remembers that "his" crew came to the burn unit to check on him, even though their role in his survival ended less than two hours after his accident, when he arrived at MetroHealth.
 He was able to personally thank the flight nurse and pilot a few months later at Metro Life Flight's fifth-year reunion. Neither staffer is with the program now but Shafer, who has never forgotten their names, is hoping they will return for the 10-year celebration.
 "These crews are made up of such wonderful people, and they need to see the patients they've helped," Shafer said. "They save lives, and then they may never see the patients again. In their off hours, I'm sure they can't help wondering how Joe or Mary or that little baby is doing."
 Metro Life Flight has carried more than 15,000 critically ill or injured patients since the service started with one helicopter. Today, a fleet of four helicopters stationed at MetroHealth Medical Center transports patients to more than 65 hospitals. The majority of patients are trauma victims.
 The country's second-busiest emergency air transport system, Metro Life Flight serves Ohio, neighboring states and Canada. It is part of The MetroHealth System, one of Ohio's largest, most comprehensive health care systems. In addition to MetroHealth Medical Center, the 1,536-bed system includes MetroHealth Saint Luke's Medical Center, MetroHealth Center for Rehabilitation, MetroHealth Center for Skilled Nursing Care and MetroHealth Clement Center for Family Care.
 -0- 8/25/92
 /CONTACT: Terry Pederson of The MetroHealth System, 216-459-3699/ CO: The MetroHealth System ST: Ohio IN: HEA SU:


BM -- CL009 -- 2945 08/25/92 10:19 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 25, 1992
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