Taylor Munroe

Smiling STARS patient Taylor Munroe sits for his portrait inside the open rear clamshell doors of a helicopter.

Taylor Munroe was enjoying a long weekend in the countryside when an off-road adventure with a friend took a tragic twist.

“We crested a hill with a steep embankment, went over the top and began rolling,” said Munroe, recalling his fateful ride in a UTV (utility terrain vehicle) on a remote section of Crown land. “I lost consciousness and came to shortly after. We had rolled the side-by-side over 150 feet down the hill.”

Not realizing his own injuries, Munroe started CPR on his unconscious friend and called 911. A ground ambulance crew eventually found them and focused efforts on his friend while Munroe found the strength to climb the hillside and wave down firefighters.

“I went back down the hill, and my adrenaline ran out,” he said. “I completely collapsed.”

STARS soon landed at the scene, where Flight Paramedic Dave Allison and Flight Nurse Patricia Jeffery learned from first responders that Munroe’s friend had already passed away. They turned their attention to Munroe.

“He had multiple injuries, multiple fractures,” said Jeffery. “As it turns out, he actually had fractures of his spine.”

That alone made STARS’ helicopter transport crucial for Munroe.

“To put him in a ground ambulance,” said Jeffery, “and then drive for an hour and a half over rough roads, every time you hit a bump there would always be that danger of a bone fragment in the spine impinging on the spinal cord, which can cause paralysis or worse.”

Enroute to the trauma centre, Allison and Jeffery performed ultrasound and blood analysis, provided pain management, and alerted the hospital of Munroe’s condition.

“His injuries required immediate care,” said Allison. “Getting him quickly to the hospital was very important.”

There, Munroe underwent spinal fusion surgery and began a long road to recovery.

“I had broken multiple vertebrae and my sternum, and I had a 10-inch laceration on the back of my head. I had basically broken in half.

“If I had kept going, if I had rolled the wrong way, I might not have been able to walk in here today.”

A few years after his incident, Munroe visited STARS to reunite with the crew members from his mission. He brought his wife Emily and their two young children — the family he was able to start after his life-altering day.

“I’m living my second chance,” he smiled. “I’m grateful for every moment. I’m amazingly grateful for STARS, because if I didn’t get the treatment I did when I did, I might not have been able to do any of those things. They helped change my life.”

Munroe’s gratitude is not only personal but also professional. He’s built his career in the oil and gas industry, which is a major contributor to the STARS program.

“Their support to make STARS possible is incredible,” he said. “To have STARS in multiple locations across Western Canada, and for them to be ready and available to serve people in the industry is incredible.”

“STARS saves and changes lives every day.”

Smiling STARS patient Taylor Munroe poses for a portrait with his arms crossed while leaning against a red helicopter.


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