Supporting Life-Saving Services

Portrait of Linda Paine Hughes.

“Mercy Flight saved my granddaughter, saved our family,” says Linda Paine Hughes, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing. In 2010, Paine Hughes’ 7-year-old granddaughter, Maddie, was critically injured in a traffic accident involving a car and a tractor-trailer in the town of Akron.

“None of us knows when a tragedy will strike, but giving before a crisis arises makes certain this service is always available. ”
Linda Paine Hughes, School of Nursing
Helped by Mercy Flight of Western New York

It was 5 p.m.

Maddie needed immediate care, but Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo was approximately 25 miles from the crash site, a 40-minute ambulance ride even without that afternoon’s rush hour traffic.

Maddie, and her 4-year-old cousin, also hurt in the crash that claimed the life of their great-grandmother, are alive today because there was another way to get them to the hospital faster than a traditional ambulance could travel.

Mercy Flight Western New York arrived on scene and would complete another of the 23,000 patient missions the local emergency air medical transport provider has completed over the last 34 years.

“I come from an emergency room background,” says Paine Hughes. “I know that Mercy Flight was the only hope.”

UB graduate Brianna Hawes, today a nurse anesthetist, was the flight nurse that day and provided life-saving interventions that kept Maddie stable until Mercy Flight arrived at the hospital.

With crews on 24-hour call seven days a week in Buffalo, Olean and Batavia, Mercy Flight Western New York is always ready to respond with expert emergency response teams and it is the continued generosity of the community that has allowed Mercy Flight Western New York to continue the life-saving mission it began in 1981.

“Even the smallest donation makes their work possible,” says Paine Hughes.

“None of us knows when a tragedy will strike, but giving before a crisis arises makes certain this service is always available,” she says. “Giving to Mercy Flight is the most important donation I could ever make.”

Paine Hughes says the Mercy Flight staff deserves all the recognition in the world.

“Mercy Flight started our miracle. Without them we would not have the miracle of Maddie.”