Astronaut Mark Kelly Discusses Significance of Air Medical Transports on Anniversary of Wife’s Injury
Surrounded by the landscape and history of hundreds of aircraft at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, astronaut Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) recounts how his wife’s eventual recovery was aided by one of the most memorable flights of his life, and shares how his aviation background spurred his involvement in patient advocacy. Captain Mark Kelly opened up about what it’s like to be a spouse of a critical care patient and the importance of transporting them to the treatment they need.
Kelly’s visit to the local aerospace museum came a week following the seven-year anniversary of his wife, Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, beginning her recovery. Before his days as an astronaut, Kelly served for nearly a decade as a Naval aviator. He shared experiences and military memories about retired aircraft that he had flown over his career.
“Surrounded by history and memories over a lifetime in aviation – especially around Gabby’s anniversary – puts everything into perspective,” Kelly said. “Life is so precious and we can’t take for granted the time we have here on this earth.”
Kelly’s challenges in helping his wife reach rehabilitation, and his background in emergency medicine and aviation eventually led him to join the board of Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance (@angel_medflight). The medical transport company treats and transports critically ill or injured patients from anywhere in the world to the life-changing treatment they need.
“It’s incredibly important to get your family member to the kind of care they need when they need it most,” said Kelly. “I understand the importance of air medical services after facing obstacles in transporting Gabby across the country for rehabilitation. Before this occurrence, I wasn’t aware of companies like Angel MedFlight.”
Kelly was able to work with close contacts to help Giffords reach the TIRR Memorial Hermann facility in Houston, Texas for her rehabilitation.
Getting patients or loved ones to the right hospital or facility is no longer burdened by distance. Angel MedFlight supports patients reaching the right level of care, no matter where it is located, using a fleet of medically configured Learjet.
The medical flight company partners with hospitals and healthcare facilities to support critical care patients like Congresswoman Giffords in reaching the life-changing care they need.
“I know what the family member goes through and how difficult a time it can be. You have to make decisions very quickly and they need to be smart decisions,” shared Kelly. “It is incredibly important for family members to find a great air ambulance company that can do this safely and efficiently, while also making the process as easy as possible.”
“Mark’s experience in aviation, safety, and operational excellence made him the right fit for our board,” said Andrew Bess, Angel MedFlight’s Chief Operating Officer. “His drive for supporting patients in reaching the life-changing care they need makes him the perfect advocate for our brand. We are proud to continue partnering with him to promote awareness for patients, their families, and healthcare providers.”
Last year, Angel MedFlight collaborated with Kelly on safety initiatives and hosted him as a featured Keynote Speaker at the Annual American Case Management Association Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C. This year, the company is bringing the astronaut and naval captain to the center of their “Every Moment Counts” campaign.
Videos released throughout the year will highlight some of the most powerful moments from Kelly’s lifetime and career as a veteran and an astronaut. The campaign also brings Kelly’s voice into a range of pivotal topics, including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patient advocacy and awareness for patients, survivors, and their families.
Kelly hopes these moments will support and inspire members of the healthcare community, as well as their patients. “Every moment counts when you’re trying to make a difference,” Kelly said. “At Angel MedFlight, we know that our interactions with patients and their families can make a lasting impact on how they feel about moving forward in their recovery. We do everything we can to make every one of those moments count.”
About Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance
Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance Services partners with healthcare providers to safely transport patients from anywhere in the world for the life-changing care they need. Our in-house patient advocates manage the complete insurance preauthorization process, and our team of flight coordinators is here 24/7 so patients can reach the highest quality of care as soon as possible. Angel MedFlight and their partners use a Learjet fleet of medically-configured aircraft for critical care and smoother, faster travel.
About Astronaut Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly is an American astronaut, retired United States Navy Captain, #1 New York Times best-selling author, and an experienced naval aviator and test pilot who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. The winner of many awards, including the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Kelly was selected by NASA as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Space Shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. With 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft, 375 aircraft carrier landings, 39 combat missions and more than 50 days in space, Mark Kelly is one of our country’s most experienced pilots.