Four year-old Leah Bird was airlifted after she was kicked by a horse this past Saturday, July 6 from the family farm just south of Devine on FM 3176. Family members explained there was a delay in arrival of the ambulance, but thankfully Leah did not suffer a life-threatening injury, though they were unsure at that time.
Medina County Sheriff ‘s office dispatch records confirmed that EMS arrived 34 minutes after the first 911 call they have on record due to a variety of communication issues, and then crews called for Airlife a little over an hour after the initial 911 call. The full log can be seen at the end of this article.
The family is happy to report that she is doing okay and back at home this past Monday.
“We were having a BBQ, and the horses were all up at the fence, so they went to see the horses,” Grandmother Julyn Bird said. “Leah’s dog ran underneath the fence, and she saw that a horse was about to kick it, so she ran across to get her dog, and that’s when she got kicked. It broke the femur, which is the bone in your thigh, and just about the worst bone in your leg to break. Leah is one very, very brave little girl. She’s been a trooper through this whole thing.”
Mother Misty Bird adds, “My first call to 911 was at 7:01pm. I gave them all of the information and then my phone died. Several family members called again a few minutes later around 7:05 to see if they were on the way yet. Then I called again at 7:25 and asked where they were.”
At that point there was still some confusion, “and the dispatcher said she would call me back in a few minutes to figure everything out. They did tell me that the ambulance in Devine was on another call, and I heard them say in the background that Natalia disregarded, and I think she was frustrated with EMS not communicating that to dispatch. Another five minutes went by and I called again at 7:30, and they said the ambulance was finally 5 or 6 minutes away. The ambulance that ended up coming was from Moore, and when they arrived they actually said they were also ‘cancelled’ while in route, but decided to come anyway due to all the confusion. Thank goodness they came.”
Misty adds, “We didn’t know exactly what her injuries were at that point so once the ambulance arrived, they ended up calling Airlife–in case she had broken the hip or it affected her spinal cord. I am thankful that it ended up being her leg that was broken and not anything else. She was scared and in a lot of pain so it was pretty frustrating. What would have happened if she had more life-threatening injuries?”
Grandma Bird adds, “The ambulance they ended up dispatching from Frio County was not able to find our home, which is located on a private road, so it’s my understanding that the fire department was contacted and they are the ones that eventually helped the ambulance find us. Leah was in a lot of pain, and her leg was just dangling there, so I was about ready to load up Leah and drive her to the hospital myself.”
“We made a splint using a pair of tongs while we waited, and the paramedics were very friendly and helpful once they arrived. They said it was the best homemade splint they’ve ever seen. To make matters more complicated, the crew also told us that somehow they were ‘cancelled’ in-route, but they decided to go ahead and come anyway, and it’s a good thing they did. Then they ended up calling in Airlfie, which arrived shortly after the ambulance,” Grandma Bird said.
Leah went under surgery, and has a tough recovery ahead of her, but grandma’s got just the recipe for that–“Leah has been so brave,” grandma Bird said. “I told her we are going to have a strawberry ice cream party to celebrate her coming back home!”
“Doctors put a flex rod that goes through her leg with four incisions. That will grow with her, so bones will heal like they are supposed to, and it will be removed in a year,” Grandma Bird said.
Misty adds, “An infection did start the night of the injury. Her temperature started climbing during surgery, so they gave her antibiotics right then and there thankfully. The flex rod is from her knee to her hip and in 6 months, we will see how it has healed and if she needs more time, it will be another 3 months. If they are happy with it, she will have a second surgery to have it removed.”
Leah is the daughter of Misty and Anthony Bird. The Bird family would like to thank all of the first responders paramedics, firefighters, and airlife who helped Leah, and all of the many friends and family who have said a prayer for Leah as she recovers.
“I would especially like to thank Julyn who is such a wonderful grandmother, and also my mom who is taking care of our other children right now to help out,” Misty said.
If you’d like to send Leah a Get Well card or gift, you can mail it to Leah Bird at PO Box 618, Devine, TX 78016. She will have to spend a lot of time resting her leg, and we are sure she can use some extra entertainment. Some ideas….Grandma Bird says she loves Super Woman, Wonder Woman, unicorns, and cats.
Little Leah loves any kind of girl super hero. In fact, now she says “I want to be a pilot!” like the one who helped her.
Communication issues with EMS
Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown was contacted and looked into the communication issue that night. At one point, however, we know 911 was automatically re-routed to Frio County because the home is close to the county line.
So that added to the confusion at first, but Medina County Dispatch has record of the first call coming in at 7:06, and notes that EMS arrived at 7:40 (34 minutes after the first call on Medina County dispatch record) and Airlife was on the ground at 8:11.
706 – 911 call comes in for a 4 year old child kicked by a horse, injury to the leg/hip
708- Natalia EMS is paged out
709 -Natalia ems confirms call and goes enroute
718 – Chris with Allegiance EMS calls speaks to Frank for directions
725 -second 911 call comes in. Dispatch requests EMS status and they advise another unit is responding, but they are not responding. We request public service from EMS to figure out what’s going on.
730- third 911 call comes in
730 dispatch pages out Devine fire because EMS is taking too long
732 dispatch gets a 4 min ETA from fire.
736 Devine fire enrote
742 Devine fire on scene
748 Devine fire request airlift
754 second fire unit on scene
811 airlife on the ground
822 airlife off the ground headed to university.
Sheriff office notes that “We were later notified that EMS made scene at 740. That was not dispatched to us until we called back to receive times. We logged them on scene at 823, which is the time we heard from them on the radio.”
“Concerns are being addressed with the county Emergency Manager,” Sheriff Brown said.
Our EMS service is a large company called Allegiance, hired by our local ESD Board #4 members. They hire the company to station 1 ambulance in Devine 24 hours and 1 in Natalia for half of a day (12 hours), and ambulances should backfill from the company in SA as needed. Decisions are made by that ESD board of volunteers.
You can read more about our local ESD #4 and board members at www.medinacountyesd4.org
Frio County also hires an ambulance service, on a separate contract, though it is the same company that services them.