On Nov. 6, Gary Mace, a Tavernier dive shop owner and boat captain, reunited with Monroe County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Francisco Perez Diaz and Trauma Star Flight Nurse Obed Bello at a Neuroscience Symposium at Baptist Hospital of Miami after he suffered an acute stroke in June 2019.
“Minutes matter when it comes to a stroke, heart attack, or major trauma incident,” said Bello. “The Trauma Star service is crucial to taking critical minutes off transport times when someone is in need, and it is always a wonderful experience to reunite with someone, like Mr. Mace, who we helped save.”
Mace didn’t immediately recognize the signs of a stroke when he began to experience double vision, slurring, and limited movement on his left side. He called his wife, who immediately called 911 and explained the symptoms to the dispatcher. Mace was rushed to the helicopter pad at Mariners Hospital in Tavernier where the Trauma Star Air Ambulance flew him to Baptist Hospital, where doctors immediately administered a blood thinning treatment to restore blood flow to the brain. From the initial phone call to the administration of the treatment was only one hour and 36 minutes.
“Two days later, I walked out of the hospital and returned home,” Mace said, who has since been cleared to scuba dive again, something he cherishes greatly. “The Trauma Star crew is fantastic, and everyone worked together to make a great success out of this story.”
Trauma Star is a joint service between Monroe County Fire Rescue and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. There are no out-of-pocket costs for Monroe County residents to use the lifesaving service. To learn more about Trauma Star, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/traumastar.