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Bison rancher credits STARS for saving her life after livestock attack
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2012 6:42PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 6, 2012 7:33PM MST
Three months after an Edmonton-area bison rancher was seriously injured by one of her animals, she is crediting the quick work of a team of medical professionals with saving her life.
Larissa Helbig is an experienced rancher, and told CTV News she enjoys working with the iconic animals – she describes them as curious and for the most part, laid back.
However, on August 6, she nearly lost her life when one of her animals attacked.
“It was just a freak accident,” Helbig said. “I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know what happened.”
Helbig and a family friend were preparing to sort cows and calves, and she was alone when she approached a gate on her property – when one of the bison gored her.
Her friend heard her screams – and paramedics were called.
“Those paramedics arrived, and then somewhere in there they decided to call STARS,” Helbig said.
Flight nurse Paula-Rose Sharmin and flight paramedic John Ernst responded to the call, and were on the ground attending to Helbig less than 15 minutes later.
Ernst described Helbig’s injuries as ‘horrific’.
“When we were in the back of the ambulance, we rolled her over and I was able to look at her back, and see this gaping, huge wound on her back, and a gush of blood fell out of that,” Ernst said.
The team transported Helbig to the U of A hospital in critical condition, where a trauma team took over.
Her injuries included two collapsed lungs, multiple broken bones and a gash on her cheek.
While only three months have passed since the incident, Helbig has healed so well that she’s back on her feet – selling her products at the Strathcona Farmer’s Market.
She credits the work of the first paramedics at the scene, and the STARS crew with saving her life – and after that experience, she wants to help with fundraising for STARS in the future.
“A lot of people did a lot so that I’m still here.”
With files from Susan Amerongen
STARS Flight Paramedic John Ernst (L), and STARS Flight Nurse Paula-Rose Sharmin (R) visit with Larissa Helbig, a bison rancher they treated after she was attacked by one of her livestock on August 6, 2012.
Bison rancher Larissa Helbig has made a speedy recovery since being attacked by one of her animals on August 6, 2012, and she's back selling her products at the Strathcona Farmer's Market.