A week of drama — real and staged — in the Fox Valley
September 15, 2013 5:20PM
People check out a Lifestar medical helicopter during a “Touch-A-Truck” event near Crete in 2012. Open areas are ideal landing sites for medical helicopters, which is one reason why one touched down last week near Kaneland High. | Submitted
Updated: October 17, 2013 6:23AM
There’s nothing like a ’copter hovering over a school to get people’s attention.
Which is why calls from residents in the Kaneland High School area came in early Tuesday morning, minutes after a Lifestar helicopter landed at the building located amid the cornfields of unincorporated Maple Park.
It turned out a teacher at Fox Valley Career Center, a technical training program housed at the school, had been burned from a gas engine fire and had to be airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. The teacher was able to walk out of the building, and the report listed the injuries as not life-threatening.
Which led to more questions from readers. Why was an emergency helicopter summoned if the injuries were not critical?
It’s a good question. And it has got good answers.
The use of medical helicopters is not uncommon in our rural Kane and Kendall counties, according to Kane County sheriff’s Lt. Patrick Gengler. Open spaces or fields make for easier landings, naturally; and these helicopters can more quickly transport patients to specialized hospitals that would require hours to reach by ground.
While there are good hospitals close by, Gengler noted, in medical emergencies requiring a certain kind of care — such as burns — there’s a “golden hour” that necessitates getting the patient to a specialized hospital such as Loyola as quickly as possible to avoid serious complications.
Scott Hagemann, business development manager for Lifestar, says it is usually up to first responders on the scene to quickly assess the situation and determine if one is needed. But a new program called HELO, noted Hagemann, allows the helicopter unit to pick up the call earlier, and do safety checks in advance so “we are ready” to fly when that summons comes in. The procedure, he said, shaves off seven to eight minutes — which can mean the difference between life and death.
These medical transporters came under intense scrutiny a few years ago after a series of accidents, including the 2008 crash of an Air Angels helicopter that went down in a field off Eola Road, killing all four on board, including the 14-month-old patient.
Since then, Hagemann said, new safety management systems have dramatically — he knocks on wood as he says this — cut down on accidents.
This is the first time Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler can remember a copter being used in an emergency at the school. But Hagemann said Kaneland students are familiar with the aircraft because his company has taken part in “medical career opportunity” presentations at the school.
“Some of those students,” he noted proudly, “are now in our paramedic program.”
Paramount’s ‘Heights’ for all cultures
Paramount Theatre President Tim Rater promised that “In the Heights” would draw us into its emotional storyline of a Dominican-American neighborhood in New York City struggling to move up yet stay together. And this first show in the Aurora theater’s Broadway Series this season more than delivered.
The music was fast-paced, snappy and fun. But as much as I enjoyed the salsa and rap (surprise!) numbers, my favorite song was the haunting ballad following the sudden death of the barrio’s beloved matriarch Abuela Claudia. Even from my seat in the midsection, I could clearly see tears glistening in the eyes of actor Nick Demeris, as his character Usnavi mourned the loss of this woman who practically raised him after the death of his own parents.
And yes, even knowing the actress — Paula Scrofano — playing the part of this beloved old lady would return to take her curtain call, I felt myself drawn so intimately into Usnavi’s raw grief, I did not want the song to end.
“In the Heights” played to a packed house at Saturday’s opening night. Yet I wasn’t the only one to notice the lack of Latinos at this production that so beautifully celebrates their cultural spirit.
On the other hand, a colleague who also attended this Paramount show told me she was only one of about a dozen non-Hispanic people down the street Saturday at Fiestas Patrias, which features well-known Mexican-American artists as well as a lot of food and activities. “And nobody,” she added, “was asking where the white people are.”
Of course, people could argue Fiestas Patrias is a celebration for Mexicans; and the Paramount is trying to reach the Latino audience by producing this fabulous show that shines the spotlight on its culture. But who can say which art form, live theater or live bands, has more art value?
“In the Heights” was wonderful, she added. But then, those Fiestas bands, “even with my limited understanding of Spanish, were also quite good.”
What’s also impressive? The choices the city of Aurora offered on Saturday night.