Troopers Often Win Races Against Death

The following is a newspaper article from the early 1950’s – undated, it was in the donated scrapbook of retired Trooper Richard Gadaree:

Troopers Often Win Races Against Death

Keeping victims alive with co-operation of the blood center

The headlights knifed through the darkness as the auto roared along Route 12A near Northfield. Inside, two senior cadets from Norwich University were talking casually about their return to the school.

Troopers Gadaree and Richardson load a blood container into a State Police Cruiser

Troopers Gadaree and Richardson load a blood container into a State Police Cruiser

Suddenly, the 1951 Plymouth careened crazily, its wheels caught in the soft shoulder of the road. Verring off, it sheared a tree, plunged into the Dog River. Seconds later, the low moans of one of the cadets, John O. Cook, 24, of Schenectady, NY broke the eerie silence that always follows all automobile accidents.

Suffering from multiple fractures of the pelvis and numerous internal injuries, Cook was rushed to the Mayo Memorial Hospital. The attending physician, Dr. Scott Pedley, immediately called or blood transfusions.

Dr. Pedley’s request set off a rapid-fire series of events little known to the general public. In a matter of minutes, the Burlington Regional Blood Center was called on to supply the blood. As one member of the blood bank’s staff was getting the necessary information, another was talking to State Police at the Burlington district headquarters. Already a State Police cruiser was leaving from Montpelier enroute to Burlington.

A Burlington State Police car dashed to the blood center on Mansfield Ave, picked up the life-saving blood and started the quick flight towards Montpelier. Both cruisers were in constant radio contact as they roared steadily towards each other on Route 2, hospital officials at the Mayo Memorial were making preparations to treat the rapidly failing victim who had fallen into shock.

Somewhere midway between Burlington and Montpelier, the two police cruisers met. The case of blood was transferred quickly and cautiously and the vehicles turned around to retrace their travels. The Burlington cruiser logged easily back toward its base, its part of the job completed.

The Montpelier car – racing time and death – roared on towards Northfield. It slammed to a stop at the hospital and the vital blood was rushed to the operating room. An hour later – after five pints of blood and two pints of plasma had been drained into Cook’s body – Dr. Pedley said Cook would live. That was three days ago. Yesterday, Dr. Pedley said Cook is recovering.

“The blood saved his life. There’s no doubt about it. The co-operation of the blood center and the State Police emergency delivery service,” said the doctor, “did the job.”

This is no isolated incident – similar operations are repeated four or five times every month. It began back when the Burlington Regional Blood Center was organized. Governor Lee E. Emerson and Public Safety Commissioner William H. Baumann of Vermont got together with Governor Sherman Adams and State Police Director Colonel Ralph Caswell of New Hampshire.

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Trooper Gadaree looks on while a technician from the Blood Center loads a transport case

Trooper Gadaree looks on while a technician from the Blood Center loads a transport case

While many hospitals normally have enough blood on hand to begin emergency treatment – a badly injured person will often need more blood than the hospital can supply immediately. Because time is so important in the battle against death, the officials of Vermont and New Hampshire agreed to co-operate in the emergency shipment [unreadable word] to be carried out by the State Police. Once agreed upon – the State Troopers did the rest.

The blood center operates on a seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day basis. That’s routine for the State Police. Since the program has been in operation, Burlington State Police cruisers have most often sped to the St. Johnsbury area. On one case, a doctor in St. Johnsbury said if the blood didn’t arrive within a matter of only a few hours – the trip might just as well be cancelled because the patient would die. The blood got there in plenty of time.

How fast do the cruisers travel on these missions of mercy? “Not too fast,” said Trooper 1/c Richard Gadaree. “After all, the main thing is to get there with the blood. It wouldn’t make much sense if we couldn’t make the delivery.” Then he added, “But these trips are made under emergency conditions.” What actually happens is the troopers use their best judgment and travel as fast as road and traffic conditions will allow. With their intimate knowledge of Vermont roads and traffic, the blood is rushed to where it is needed without a second wasted.

As soon as the Burlington blood center gets a request, blood from the huge refrigerator is packed in smaller insulated refrigerator boxes. The troopers normally take boxes containing eight pints of blood – although some will hold as many as 24 pints. The boxes maintain the temperature at between 20 and 40 degrees, necessary to keep the blood from spoiling. Several times the blood has been transferred twice enroute, but on other occasions a Vermont trooper will carry his cargo across the state line into New Hampshire if the destination is not too far into the neighboring state.

The {unreadable on scan} day and night, rain and shine, and that includes icy roads in winter. “But they’re just routine” the troopers insist.

Routine missions that save lives!

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