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5-year-old trauma patient recovered thanks to Sanford AirMed team efforts

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 4:18 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Sanford Bismarck AirMed team is used to seeing trauma patients in their day-to-day work.

Last September, they say they flew one little patient who touched their hearts.

They say life can change in the blink of an eye. That moment came when this helicopter airlifted one little girl in desperate need of medical attention.

After touchdown, 5-year-old Olive Reile underwent a life-saving surgery. But, it changed her and her family’s perspective on it.

It was an average day for the Reile family.

“They were playing on the playground. Olive met a new friend and they were playing the little zipline,” said Courtney Reile.

Meanwhile, Sanford’s EMS AirMed team was going through the workday routine.

Then, it happened.

“Olive was the first one to let go and fall. And then the other girl did, and she happened to land directly on top of Olive,” said Courtney Reile.

AirMed got the call and sprang into action.

“We originally had gotten paged to Dickinson to pick up a different patient. And then, when we walked into their ER, they said we have somebody that’s way more critical that we’re going to have you take instead of the other one,” said Sanford AirMed Flight Nurse Lori Hintz.

It was go time.

“Olive and I went in the helicopter to Bismarck and we realized how much she was bleeding internally. They said that they had never seen a liver injury as bad as hers. I mean, her liver was almost completely split in half,” said Courtney.

“It was very scary,” Olive said.

The team says her call was tough.

“I have twins-- a little boy and a little girl. They’re the exact same age as this little girl. So, definitely, you think that in your head a little bit,” said Sanford Critical Care Paramedic Matthew Kann.

But, they say they were prepared.

Olive stayed in the hospital for a month and underwent multiple surgeries, had stitches, a blood transfusion and had multiple IVs and cat scans.

“You never want to see your kid in that amount of pain and she was scared. And, there were parts we couldn’t be there for,” said Courtney.

Thanks to the Sanford AirMed team, Olive made it in time and is now recovering.

“I feel a lot stronger. I don’t let anything scare me,” Olive said.

Olive’s accident has touched the hearts of those around her.

“In the little moments, just being very vocal about how much my husband and I love our kids and how much we love each other,” said Courtney.

“It definitely gives you a little perspective,” said Kann.

“It makes it a little bit more meaningful. You pay a little bit more attention to time,” said Hintz.

Olive says she’s able to turn the scary situation into something positive.

“I don’t let anything scare me,” Olive said.

Now she says her goal is to become a doctor when she grows up.

Olive’s mother says she’s made almost a full recovery.

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