Canadian patient returns to thank CareFlight crew

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- When emergency crews respond to a scene, they usually don't find out what happens to people they’ve helped.

This was an exception. A patient of St. Mary’s who was rescued by CareFlight drove all the way from Canada to say thanks to the crew who saved his life.

"No, I don't remember anything from the site… the last memory I have was driving down on Highway 13, must have been somewhere between Craig and Meeker I think,” said Rob Schroten, who was saved by CareFlight.

Ajan Schroten, a French Canadian truck driver who goes by the name Rob, may not remember what happened the day of his accident, but his CareFlight crew certainly do.

"He was essentially unresponsive for us…. pinned under some pipes,” said Nate Wilson, registered nurse, CareFlight.

A year ago Tuesday, Rob was bringing a truck full of large pipes from Canada to an oil rig near parachute. When he arrived the winds were reaching 40 mph and the restraint on the pipes broke, sending them barreling down on top of him. Due to the remote location, CareFlight was called.

"Well I think the biggest damage at that moment was my spleen that was ruptured and they removed the spleen, seven broken ribs, a broken shoulder, and a bone in my lower back broke,” said Schroten.

"So, we landed about the same time as one of the sheriffs deputies, we found the patient underneath, he tells me it’s about 900 pounds of pipe had fallen from approximately 15 feet up, he was struck across the abdomen with one and across the head with the other set of pipes,” said Wilson.

Without the quick actions of the CareFlight crew, the sheriff’s deputy, and some co-workers, Rob wouldn’t be here today.

"We were able to give him blood products and resuscitate him in route… I think with any more of a delay if anything hadn't gone as it had he would have most likely expired there,” said Wilson.

He says he will never forget the team who saved his life.

"I really appreciate that everybody is taking the time and I feel welcomed,” said Schroten.

The CareFlight crew was made up of registered nurse Nate Wilson, paramedic Rob Klimek, and their pilot, Josh Thorn.

"I really appreciate it and thanks for saving my life,” said Schroten.
The crew took Rob on a tour of St. Mary’s emergency department, ICU team, and CareFlight helicopter pad.

"So for him to reach out to us and say he wants to meet us, means a job well done in our books…It’s fantastic to actually have an individual, especially an international individual, come down and appreciate us because that’s why we do this, it’s not for the glory it’s for hopefully the reward of him walking, talking and has a functional life,” said Rob Klimek, paramedic with CareFlight.

Rob says he’s still undergoing intense physical therapy for his injuries back in Canada.

He has managed to get his driver’s license back to drive his car but will have to wait a little longer before applying for his trucking license.

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