In 1990, The Copper Valley Had A Different Kind Of Emergency Care Crisis

A Look At Copper Valley's Emergency Medical Response Crisis Of 30 Years Ago  Car Wrecks, Plane Crashes, Heart Attacks & Horse Kicks ...

A Look At Copper Valley's Emergency Medical Response Crisis Of 30 Years Ago 

Car Wrecks, Plane Crashes, Heart Attacks & Horse Kicks Don't Stop Just Because It's A Weekend...

One Weekend In The Summer Of 1990, The Copper Valley Was Overwhelmed By A Huge Surge Of Medical Needs 

That weekend, eight people were medevaced from Cross Road Medical Center for a wide range of reasons: a horse kick, a motorcycle accident, car wrecks, a heart attack, a plane crash, and undefined "medical emergencies." There were two medevacs on Friday, five on Saturday and then another one that Sunday. It almost seemed too much, and the Journal wrote a picture story about the weekend. 

The number of injured and sick people that materialized in just a few days was so high that when a Medevac plane or helicopter came in to pick them up and carry them off to an Anchorage hospital, they sometimes had to double up the patients. 

Volunteer EMTs from all over the valley pitched in to help each other solve the problem of tackling the serious issues the region faced – all the time, of course. But especially at times like this.  The pictures show volunteers from far-flung Copper Valley communities, assisting worn-out Glennallen-based volunteers and hospital workers. It was an extraordinary level of engagement, by a very large number of local people, scattered around the region.  

And it couldn't be sustained.

Here's A Brief Look At What A Crisis In Emergency Care Looked Like In 1990 & 1991  

Today, with no doctors in the Copper Valley, no after-hours or weekend care, and few volunteers, we are in a different type of crisis. 

This story could never be written today. 

Thirty years ago there was always one (and sometimes two) doctors on call at Cross Road Medical Center. Above is a photo from the Journal of Cross Road's Dr. Ross Van Camp, supervising a July, 1990 Medevac. The helicopter landed on the lawn in front of the clinic in downtown Glennallen. The people being taken to Anchorage are recreationists. (Archive Photo, Country Journal)


The "Copper River EMS" ambulance garage in the 1990s was next to Cross Road, and was run by a large group of community-wide volunteers from all over the valley, who – along with Cross Road professionals – made themselves available at all times.  The pace of work was exhausting, and over the years has been unsustainable. These pictures show volunteers from Kenny Lake, Glennallen, Nelchina and Gakona. (Archive, Country Journal) 


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