Gov. Pete Ricketts has honored Nebraska State Patrol troopers who participated in a relay that rushed vital medication to an ailing child in Colorado.
Patrol Superintendent, Col. John Bolduc, says troopers relayed the medication the evening of May 29th from the Nebraska Medicine to North Platte, where medical transport waited to fly it to Colorado.
“At the end, looking back, it was a precision operation. It doesn’t always go that way,” Bolduc tells reporters during a news conference. “But, they were able to pull together their resources and pull this off so that they could provide this much needed medicine to a child, whom, as the governor mentioned, they don’t know, they may never know, but that’s what we do.”
Lt. Matt Sutter with NSP in Omaha says Nebraska Medicine called around 10 o’clock the evening of May 29th. The last commercial flight had left Omaha and weather had grounded all private planes.
“There were no aircraft that could take off, no private or smaller aircraft that could take off out of Omaha and past 10 o’clock there’s not much commercially leaving out of Eppley at that time,” Sutter says. “So, we really had no options as far as air traffic, so we had to improvise, and we had to do it via the ground.”
Several troopers helped relay the medication to North Platte, where medical transport awaited. The plane flew the medication to Colorado and handed it off to a Colorado state trooper who took it to Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Troopers attending the news conference who participated in the relay include Trooper Tom Hicken, Trooper Sean Velte, Trooper Kevin Whetstine, Trooper Joshua Emhovick, and Sgt Justin Buhlke. Troopers Joe Flasnick and Warren Gibson were unable to attend.
Sutter says the patrol wasn’t given a deadline; only told it was urgent.
“The initial information that we had is that it was a brain-cell eating amoeba and so, there wasn’t a lot of information on the time line, but it was made pretty clear to us that every hour counted,” Sutter says.
Officials at Children’s Hospital in Colorado in Denver called in the early morning hours of the next day to confirm the medication had been delivered.