Although he never expected to ever need them, Christian Toupin of St. Claude credits the life he has now to some of the amazing work of the team at STARS Manitoba.

In the autumn of 2018, Toupin set out on a hunting trip near the picturesque Spruce Woods area. As he and his friends made their way back to Treherne, their return was cut short by a collision with a tandem truck at an unmarked intersection. The impact left Christian in critical condition, but thankfully STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service) was there to help.

The moment the ambulance arrived at the accident scene, it became evident to the paramedics that his injuries required urgent and specialized attention at the Health Sciences Centre (HSC) in Winnipeg. Recognizing the role STARS plays in swiftly and safely transporting patients, the paramedics wasted no time in calling upon their assistance. With remarkable efficiency, STARS swiftly deployed from their base to provide the crucial support Christian desperately needed.

The STARS team arrived quickly, bringing with them specialized medical services and state-of-the-art equipment. Their expertise ensured his stabilization and rapid transport to HSC in 15 to 20 minutes. Reflecting on the speed of their response, Christian considers himself incredibly lucky to have had access to such a service. The contrast between the minutes spent aboard the STARS helicopter and the hours that a ground ambulance might have required resonates deeply within him.

The aftermath of the accident left Christian grappling with a loss of memory, approximately half an hour before the incident until a week and a half afterward. Despite the immense challenges he faced, he appreciated the opportunity to forge ahead, aware that his circumstances could have been very different without the intervention of STARS.

The injuries were severe, including a broken C2 vertebrae and a traumatic brain injury. The immediate stabilization provided by the STARS team played a crucial role in mitigating the risk of further damage, particularly in terms of paralysis and additional brain trauma. The care he received during those critical moments was instrumental in minimizing the potential long-term effects of his injuries.

Months after the accident and his subsequent recovery, Christian was able to visit the STARS base in Winnipeg. It was there that he met some of the crew members who had been instrumental in the mission that had saved his life. Although he could not recall the specifics of their heroic actions, he was glad to be able to thank them in person. Witnessing firsthand the incredible set-up and hearing the stories of the STARS team deepened his appreciation for the services they provide.

Christian emphasizes the importance of supporting STARS, hoping that no one else will ever find themselves in need of their services. 

"It occasionally crosses my mind, wondering if Stars wasn't there, how bad could it have been and how would that impact my life today? Would I still be where I am working toward the job I'm doing or would I have been able to finish school as quickly? It makes you think about what those differences would be and where you might be today"

Toupin's remarkable journey serves as a powerful reminder of the role that STARS plays in saving lives and delivering critical care during times of crisis. The swift response and specialized assistance they offer has the power to alter the course of one's life, as experienced firsthand by Toupin.

STARS has been a lifeline for countless communities across Canada, providing critical care and air medical transportation to those who require immediate attention. Their fleet of helicopters, equipped with advanced medical equipment and staffed by skilled professionals, ensures that no distance is too great when it comes to saving lives.

To learn more about STARS or contribute to their mission, visit our Critical Care on the air radiothon page here.