Okay, I gotta talk a little crap...
Medic types that stop here to read, feel free to correct me where I'm wrong.
The aorta is the largest artery in the human body. It's also series of intersections... most of the major arteries branch off the aorta. Sometimes, in some people, the tissue gets brittle... "frangible",
and tears. This is a serious problem because the aorta is such a large vessel, even a small tear can allow large quantities of blood to leak into the abdomen. These tears present a problem for healing hands because fixing them is like trying to sew old cloth with new thread...
The tissue tore because it was old and worn out. The tears frequently happen where the vessels branch off, leaving specialists with an almost impossible problem to fix.
Our patient was a 69 year old man. A nice guy, he had never flown and was frightened of the idea of spending 30 minutes in the helicopter. To the degree they could, my crew, a Flight Nurse and Paramedic... (both attractive females), tried to reassure him. He obviously enjoyed their attention, but his fear was still up-front evident.
Up the elevator to the helipad...
"A little bump here sir." We're trying not to jostle him any more than necessary to avoid tearing that aorta further. I open the clamshell doors and as we're about to slide him into the cabin of the BK117 he says, "I don't think I'm gonna make it."
My crew responds, "Sure you will!" as positively as they can.
I start both engines, do my before takeoff checks and ask, "All secure back there?"
"Yes we are."
I'm ten seconds into my takeoff when over the intercom I hear, "Sir? SIR?!!"
In the next few seconds I hear voices increase in pitch as Flight Nurse and Paramedic commence CPR. I've already started my 180 degree turn to return to the hospital and I've dialed in 155.340 on the Wulfsberg to let the hospital we just departed from know what's going on.
I make the radio call...
"********* Memorial, ******3 is returning to the helipad. CPR is in progress on our patient."
I land, secure the cyclic and collective, then open the clamshell doors. As my crew offloads the patient I open the starboard sliding door and grab the small oxygen bottle, the "E" tank. I turn to hand it to my crew and crush my forefinger between the E tank and the stretcher as they race by. The pain is excrutiating and I drop to my knees, but succeed in passing the O2 bottle to the Paramedic without dropping it. They race to, then down the elevator, hoping for a miracle.
My finger is already turning deep blue as I shut the aircraft down. MAN! That hurts.
Our patient died.
So did my fingernail.