South Dakota's regional hospitals are one of the state's best kept secrets. Even with the state's rural landscape, in an emergency, top notch care is readily available. Because of this commitment to quality care, one Groton man says it's the reason he's alive.
"Every time you go up you think, boy that would sure suck to fall! And as you're going down your thinking this is really going to happen? I can't believe this is going to happen." Said Chad Pray.
It was shaping up to be just another harvest as Chad Pray climbed to the top of a grain bin to start the filling process. Not knowing the fall season was about to live up to its name.
"We were setting up an auger and I was up top..." Said Pray.
It's still hard for Chad to talk about what came next. As a freak twist of fate led the auger to slam into the grain bin and before he knew it; Chad was airborne.
"Everything goes through your mind, you wouldn't believe it but it does in that short amount of time and I came over and I just prayed to God that he wasn't going to take my life." Said Pray.
The 911 call rallied the Trauma III ER at Avera St. Luke's and doctors prepared for the worst.
"When we activate CareFlight we really don't know what the injuries are we just know that the mechanism of injury exists for a great trauma so we want to be ready to care for those patients as fast as possible." Said Dr. Alex Falk, an emergency physician at Avera St. Luke's.
Within minutes, EMS was on scene and Chad was praying.
"They flew me out which was a quick ride, I remember the emergency room experience but after I was initiated the pain medicine everything was pretty blurry after that, but I remember some whispering in my ear saying chad I'm going to take care of you, you're going to be okay." Said Pray.
With the trauma team activated Chad was seen by several specialties in a very quick and thorough manner.
"You know he could've had a head injury, he could had a spine injury or chest injury, I mean he should be dead! It should've been like a fly swatter hitting a fly!" Said Dr. Falk.
Miraculously, Chad escaped certain death after a 30-foot fall with only a few scars to show.
"I tore some cartilage in my ribs in front in back but otherwise I think I had 80; between 70 and 80 stitches and staples in my leg that went from about here down and around up to about here." Said Pray.
That long twisted laceration was from a fan box, which also bears the scars of the accident. The fan helped break Chad's fall without breaking a single bone. Chad was definitely under someone's wing of protection but the care he received made sure unseen damage didn't go untreated.
"It goes all the way from the EMS folks in the field do a great job, to all the nurses and doctors that support us, x-ray, labs, the whole gamut. You know doctors can't do it all we need to have all the support people behind us." Said Dr. Falk.
The grain bins are a daily reminder of how close Chad came to meeting his end. It's not just his family's namesake, Chad pray's every single day thanking God for giving him a second chance.
"God has a plan for me and it's bigger and better than what I had been doing evidently, so I'm just not done yet and he's not done with me." Said Pray.
For more information about emergency care just call 877-AT-AVERA.