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Stars aligned for Brady Best when a then-undiagnosed Hantavirus infection put him into respiratory failure.

Luckily, our helicopter happened to be flying above the rural hospital where Best was located, having just been stood down from a different mission, when we learned the medical staff below needed our help.

“When we arrived, Brady was critically ill, and they had trouble getting the breathing tube in,” said Cindy Seidl, the flight nurse on the mission. “We were able to go in with our video laryngoscope and assist. Then we hooked him up to a ventilator, but he didn’t respond in the normal way we would expect a young man to respond, and I think that because of the Hantavirus; his lungs were so badly injured at that point.”

His diagnosis would come later, but for now our crews knew they needed to get oxygen into his lungs.

“It was quite important we were there as quickly as we could be,” said Luc Duval, Best’s flight paramedic. “The medications were already in, he had already been sedated, his oxygen levels weren’t where they should be, so to have us right there and then to manage that airway was probably life-saving for him.”

Best agrees the coincidence of our proximity was pivotal.

“If it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t be here,” he said. “Everything just lined up right.”

Best says his illness started with a messy tidy-up project several days earlier.

“We cleaned out an old garage that didn’t have a garage door on it. A couple of weeks after that I was having a hard time breathing.”

He went to his local hospital, and after several hours of seeming to be OK, he suddenly took a turn for the worse and STARS was notified.

Best went on to make a full recovery and quickly arranged a visit to the STARS base to meet his flight crew.

“Thank you,” his wife Brigit Best recalled telling his crew. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have a husband. He would be dead. And I couldn’t be more grateful for everybody.”

Best echoed her gratitude.

“Thank you for saving my life,” he smiled.

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