Chris and Denise Arthey

HALO-Flight: My lifeline

The next time you are driving on a straight two-laner at 55mph, imagine an SUV coming the other way at 80mph. Now imagine the SUV swerving into your lane and hitting you head-on, with a combined speed of 135mph. Now imagine that you don’t have the protection of a car around you, but you are on a motorcycle.

What are your chances of survival?

On 16 May 2008, my wife Denise and I were exploring South Texas on a Harley Road King. On Highway 35 just south of Tivoli we were struck almost head-on by a drunk driver who veered across to our side of the road. We remember nothing of the accident or what followed. Denise and I both lost our left legs above the knee and had badly broken left arms and hands. I lost my spleen, had broken ribs and a punctured lung, and severe concussion, and by all accounts came closer to death than Denise. The police were getting ready for a fatal accident investigation.

With this sort of trauma, the casualty is dependent on a chain of individual people who all need to play their part to perfection: witnesses calling for help and offering immediate assistance; the first professional responders from police and emergency medical services; in our case two separate helicopters to the nearest trauma unit; the trauma teams and ICU staff on arrival. Even if all goes flawlessly, the casualty may not survive. We knew from medical records that my helicopter evacuation to Christus Spohn hospital at Corpus Christi was provided by HALO-Flight. Five years after the event we found that my HALO-Flight team was Randy Endsley, Walter Gibson, and pilot Paul Caldwell. This crew was a strong link in the chain that pulled me from certain death, and enabled me to fight my way back to life again. I don’t need any persuasion of the value of HALO-Flight and the professionals serving there. Randy, Walter and Paul – my heartfelt thanks. I hope to meet you again, and this time I plan to be better company!

Denise and I are both doing well; you can see a brief summary of our story on YouTube by googling ‘Do you see a rainbow?’. Before the accident I was a marathon runner. With a ‘blade runner’ carbon-fibre prosthetic leg, I’m competing again. It’s a complete miracle, and every day is a gift for both of us

Thank you, HALO-Flight!
Chris (and Denise) Arthey