Overwhelming Gratitude

May 28, 2024

It was supposed to be a typical summer day, full of errands and appointments for Donna Heffner. But that all changed when the 74-year-old Tennessee woman was t-boned on the driver’s side by a fast-moving vehicle while driving through at an intersection on Highway 127 in Jamestown.

“I don’t remember too much after that, except waking up in a helicopter,” said Heffner.

The helicopter Heffner is referring to is the UT LifeStar aircraft — a Med-Trans partner — that responded to her accident, with the crew caring for her as they took her to advanced care at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

“To say I’m thankful for the excellent care I received while completely helpless is an understatement,” said Heffner. “I believe the medics in that aircraft saved my life. I’m also grateful for my membership with the AirMed Care Network (AMCN), which saved me from experiencing an added financial distress that would have come if I had to pay for the medical care that I received.”

Med-Trans is a provider in the AMCN, a Global Medical Response (GMR) alliance of affiliated helicopter and airplane air ambulances that provide medical treatment and transport to all patients, dramatically reducing travel time to an emergency facility. AMCN members enjoy the added value of never having to worry about out-of-pocket expenses only when transported by an AirMedCare provider. With over 320 locations in 38 states and over 3.4 million members, AMCN is the nation’s largest emergency air medical membership network.

“What’s truly amazing to me is that I joined this network just two weeks before the accident,” said Heffner. “My partner and I live in a very rural area on the Cumberland Plateau and have only one small hospital in the area, which is an hour’s drive from the scene of the accident. So, having the AMCN membership when I did was a miracle.”

Since the accident, Heffner has made tremendous progress in her recovery. What’s more, she’s shared her experience with neighbors and friends, encouraging them to be AMCN members as well.

“My experience has been nothing but positive,” she said. “Many of my friends here have joined AMCN since my accident. The price is extremely reasonable, and the process of joining is clear and easy.”

Today, Heffner continues to sing the praises of the crew that helped her in her time of need, saying she still feels an overwhelming sense of gratitude for their service.

“How in the world do I thank the wonderful folks who got me to the emergency care that I so badly needed at that time,” she said. “While I don’t remember much, when I did regain consciousness in the helicopter, I do remember feeling a sense of calmness and professionalism, like I knew I was in good hands. All I can say now is that AMCN is an indispensable service in this rural part of Tennessee, and I am living proof of that. I will continue to urge everyone in this area and other rural communities to join, for themselves and their families. To this day, I am thankful, from the bottom of my heart to the crew that helped me.”


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