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Waterville man credits Maine’s only air ambulance service for saving his life after motorcycle crash

June 8, 2020, was the day that changed Howard Brown’s life forever.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDT
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WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - Knowing what to do when faced with an emergency is important, especially when it comes to controlling bleeding from a severe injury.

Thursday marked National Stop the Bleed Day.

According to the American Red Cross, it takes just five minutes to suffer severe blood loss and die from a bleeding emergency.

We spoke with a man from Central Maine whose life was saved after a catastrophic leg injury thanks to his quick thinking and the critical care provided by LifeFlight of Maine.

For nearly 25 years, LifeFlight of Maine has been transporting the sickest patients in need of...
For nearly 25 years, LifeFlight of Maine has been transporting the sickest patients in need of critical care, whether by ground or air.(WABI)

June 8, 2020, was the day that changed Howard Brown’s life forever.

Just 20 days (about 3 weeks) out from his 32nd birthday, Howard was riding his motorcycle home from work through Waterville when he was hit by a drunk driver.

Howard, unable to get to his feet, knew something was wrong with his leg.

He was able to convince the driver to call 911.

With EMT’s on the way, he was able to stem the bleeding from his leg by creating a tourniquet with his belt.

Howard was taken to Northern Light Inland Medical Center in Waterville by ambulance where he was met by a LifeFlight helicopter with Lori Metayer on board. She says the tourniquet helped save his life.

“Without that, he certainly could have bled to death and not survived the accident at all,” said LifeFlight of Maine Nurse, Lori Metayer.

“I heard the helicopter coming and it was like angel wings flapping. You just know you are in the best care when you are about to get loaded on LifeFlight,” Brown explained. “Within the first hour of the accident, I was receiving life-saving blood.”

LifeFlight of Maine is the only EMS service in the state allowed to initiate blood and plasma therapies.

Metayer says for patients dealing with trauma, getting blood in the first 20 minutes is crucial.

“Blood is the best oxygen carrying capacity that we have. Those cells can’t be replaced or haven’t really been successfully replicated.”

Howard says he was given plenty of support during the less than 20-minute flight to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. There his leg was eventually amputated.

“I remember a hand coming over my face with a mask and I just prayed, ‘okay, this is it. They are going to put me to sleep. Please let me wake up and sure enough I did,” said Brown. “I had a 126 staples after everything was said and done and a lot of the nurses in Bangor had said that was the most they had ever really seen.”

Howard is still recovering. He is still learning to walk with his prosthetic leg and is eager to get back to work.

“I’m still here having barbecues with my family. I am able to go ice fishing, hunting, and four-wheeling, and all the things I love to do. Without them I would not be here, so please donate blood today,” he said.

“It’s challenging in this world for people to volunteer their time and their energy, but this is one thing that really can make a difference,” Metayer said.

Without the life-saving blood he received, Howard says he would not be here. That is why he is encouraging everyone who can to give the gift of life.

LifeFlight of Maine and the American Red Cross are teaming up for a blood drive on Wednesday, June 1.

It runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center at 900 B Hammond Street in Bangor.

Click here to book an appointment.

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