Trauma Star Saved My Life

Since Trauma Star started flying, trauma victims have received treatment for life-threatening injuries. Thanks to the talent and skill of the dedicated professionals who serve on land and inflight, many trauma victims have returned to their daily lives. Here are a few of the survivors and their stories of gratitude.


Monroe County Fire Rescue and Trauma Star crew members had a joyful reunion with a 47-year-old man who days earlier they had brought back to life not once, but five times. 

Picture of crew at trauma star reunion

Ricky Bryan, from Perryville, MD, was in full cardiac arrest with no pulse when MCFR responded Jan. 2, 2019 to a medical emergency at Boyd’s Campground on Stock Island. Bryan’s close friend had begun CPR.

MCFR’s medically trained firefighters took over and for the next 30 minutes continued the life-saving efforts, which included 10 defibrillations. Bryan coded three more times before the crew was able to stabilize him enough to be flown by the County’s Trauma Star air ambulance to the University of Miami Hospital.

During the 45-minute flight, Trauma Star Flight Nurse Roget Torres said the patient coded again after Trauma Star lifted off, “But we got him back. He is a fighter.”

He and his son, mother and sister were emotional when they met the MCFR and Trauma Star personnel who provided the life-saving care by land and air. “It was so great to see him and so healthy-looking, although I’m sure his ribs are sore from the CPR,” MCFR Captain Andrea Thompson of Station 8 on Stock Island said.

Thompson was joined by MCFR FF/Paramedics Rafael Calante and Raymond Zamora and FF/EMT Brandon King. The Trauma Star flight crew was Torres, Pedro Carrillo and Ralph Rios.


Monroe County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Francisco Perez-Diaz presented Monroe County Firefighter Christian Diaz with a Phoenix Award from an inter-facility transport from Lower Keys Medical Center to Mount Sinai in March where Diaz saved a patient’s life.

En route, the patient went into cardiac arrest and the crew had to divert to the closest hospital, Baptist. The on-duty flight crew’s knowledge and experience made a difference in the patient’s outcome and survival. “It’s our privilege to have in our organization such motivated professionals with the caliber and dedication in providing a great medical service to our communities,” said Perez-Diaz.

The Phoenix Award, named for the mythical bird who rises from the ashes unscathed, is presented to emergency responders who restore life to a patient and that patient is able to return to a similar quality of life. The average survival rate for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is about 10 percent, according to the American Heart Association.

Trauma Star Thank you note in Key West Citizen

Diaz receives Phoenix Award