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Injured teen flown home

January 10, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Seth Hahn didn't say much during the 30 seconds he had with his family after being wheeled from an airplane to an ambulance Friday afternoon.

But the Falling Waters, W.Va., teenager will have plenty of time to catch up now that he's in familiar territory after a two-week stay in a Canadian hospital following a snowmobile accident.

"Elated," was how Hahn's mother, Suzette Hahn, said she felt after they landed safely at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

"It was a great ride. It was wonderful," Hahn said.

Hahn said an ambulance took Seth from Joliette, Quebec, to Plattsburgh, N.Y., Friday morning. Then the two of them, along with Seth's great aunt, Sharon Cline, were flown to the airport north of Hagerstown by Scott Welch, a pilot with His Wings Aviation Ministries who volunteered to fly Seth here at no cost.

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The Ministries is a nonprofit group that provides free air transportation to people who cannot afford public transportation or cannot tolerate it for health reasons, according to an e-mail from Welch.

Seth, 16, suffered a partially collapsed lung, a perforated upper intestine and other injuries in a Dec. 28 snowmobile wreck in Joliette, family members said. The teen was unable to avoid a large branch while riding on a snowmobile with cousins and an uncle.

The trip was a Christmas present.

"This was a Christmas present that went bad," Suzette Hahn said of her son's first snowmobile trip. "He was having a great time 'til this happened."

"I know he feels great right now to be here," Suzette Hahn said.

Seth told his family he probably will try snowmobiling again, said his sister, Crystil Resh, of Falling Waters.

The hospital stay in Canada had Seth going stir crazy, his mother said.

Hahn said she obliged when Seth asked her to go to Wal-Mart and buy him a Game Boy and some games to play.

Resh said she called her brother every day while he was in Canada, but Seth is "not much of a phone person." Still, she got the impression his spirits had improved and he was eager to get home.

The main problem at the Canadian hospital was the communication barrier because the nurses spoke French and knew little English, Suzette Hahn said.

Most of the time, Seth was on medication that made him drowsy, she said. It wasn't until very recently that he started feeling well.

Resh said her brother wasn't able to eat any food until Wednesday when he began eating foods like broth and Jell-O.

"He's really missed food," Resh said.

The Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School junior works for a family member's Smithsburg-area landscaping business, his sister said.

Suzette Hahn said it will be a month or so before her son can return to school.

Suzette Hahn and Seth's father, Darryl Hahn, have been in Canada with their son since they found out about the accident, said Seth's uncle, Hagerstown resident Todd Hahn. Hahn said Darryl Hahn was driving home Friday.

Todd Hahn; his wife, Angie; and their 23-month-old son, Cameron; met Resh and Seth's niece, 7-month-old Lacy, at Rider Jet Center, where Seth was transferred from the plane to an ambulance.

The 1976 Piper Navajo twin-engine plane landed out of view behind a hangar and taxied up runway 9 to the Rider Jet Center. Once the propellers stopped, the ambulance crew, which included volunteer and family friend Les Adelsberger with the Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway, leaned in the plane's door to check on Seth, who was sitting up with an IV.

Seth emerged wearing blue sweat pants, a white T-shirt, a brown coat, socks, sandals and a white and blue knit cap.

After Seth laid down on the gurney and was covered with an orange blanket, the ambulance crew allowed family members to talk to him briefly before taking him to the hospital.

When his sister asked him if he felt better now that he was here, Seth nodded his head.

There had been some concern Thursday as to whether Washington County Hospital would be able to admit Seth because the hospital periodically had experienced red alerts, meaning there was a shortage of monitored beds.

Todd Hahn said the family spoke with a doctor Friday morning and expected Seth to be admitted to the hospital.

Seth had been admitted to the hospital Friday night where he was listed in fair condition, hospital officials said.

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