STARS success story

Young boys love playing around flowing water in the spring. Despite all the warnings, they never quite comprehend the danger.

That describes eight-year-old Sammuel Gross in April 2009 during the Manitoba flood. Sammuel was part of a group of children playing near a fast flowing creek at his home on the Westroc Colony north of Portage la Prairie, Man.

Sammuel fell into the creek and was trapped in a culvert with his head submerged below the icy waters.  A cousin pulled him out and began CPR, but Sammuel didn’t respond.

“By the time STARS arrived, Sammuel had been in cardiac arrest for more than 30 minutes,” said Troy Pauls, a flight paramedic with Manitoba STARS.

First responders eventually restored the boy’s life signs, and the STARS helicopter flew him straight to Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg where he remained in a coma for 13 days.

“I almost lost my son that day,” Sammuel’s father, Robert Gross, said recently while working at the STARS booth during Manitoba Ag Days.

“If it hadn’t been for these people and their helicopter, Sammuel wouldn’t be with us today, there’s no doubt of that.”

Pauls is pleased with the outcome as well.

“Sammuel came and visited us at the STARS office this winter. He’s doing well.  He’s a perfectly healthy 13-year-old boy. There are no lasting effects from the accident.”

The incident happened shortly after the STARS helicopter arrived in Manitoba, invited by the provincial government to help with medical emergencies during the flooding of 2009.

“Based almost totally on that mission, the Manitoba government invited us back again for the 2011 flood and then asked us to stay and become part of the health care system here,” Pauls said.