Mrs. Ann Ballard, past SMA Alliance Leadership and longtime member, recently traveled to the Isle de Mujeres, Mexico, just off the coast of Cancun, with four of her friends (all doctors’ wives).  Unfortunately, while touring one of the buildings, Mrs. Ballard fell and sustained a spiral fracture of the left femur. With no hospitals on the Isle de Mujeres, the Mexican EMS took Mrs. Ballard to a hospital in Cancun where she was told by the attending physician that she “…would need surgery and could develop a blood clot.” Because she was uncomfortable with the hospital’s standards of procedure, Mrs. Ballard turned to one of her travel companions who is a nurse and whose son is an orthopaedic surgeon in Texas.  When contacted, her friend’s son indicated that while Mrs. Ballard would probably not develop a blood clot, he did advise her to return to the United States as soon as possible. 

Mrs. Ballard then asked her friend to get her AirMed card out of her purse, and the hospital allowed her to make a collect call to AirMed. Within just a number of hours, the medical transport plane was there.  Although there was a problem with Mexico not providing a landing plan, Mrs. Ballard was at a hospital in Austin, Texas within 24 hours.

During the flight from Mexico to Austin, AirMed contacted Mrs. Ballard’s daughter and communicated with her on an hourly basis regarding her mother’s condition and the flight status. Mrs. Ballard said the AirMed staff, including the two nurses who remained with her throughout the entire flight, was wonderful. The AirMed crew came with its own equipment and took care of getting Mrs. Ballard through customs; she never had to leave the plane. The AirMed staff also provided Mrs. Ballard’s daughter with exact details regarding where and when to meet them at the hospital in Austin. Because AirMed transported Mrs. Ballard to the Austin hospital, her daughter was able to go directly to the hospital rather than to the airport.

The physician who performed the surgery asked how Mrs. Ballard arrived in Austin and she relayed her experience with AirMed. Now considering herself a “Bionic Woman” with 14 screws and a plate, Mrs. Ballard expressed the overwhelming feeling of relief, gratitude, and thankfulness when AirMed arrived.  She said she would “…tell everybody in the world” that she “…would not go anywhere without AirMed.”

By Mrs. Ann Ballard as told to Vonette Scott

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