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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Recalling how trauma care often meant a copter ride to somewhere else

Dr. Larry Roberts, trauma director at Mary Washington, and Marianna Bedway, senior vice president and chief nursing officer.

The trauma service at Mary Washington Hospital is three years old, but Marianna Bedway reminded her listeners last night that trauma care in Fredericksburg used to be quite different.

Bedway, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at the hospital, spoke at a trauma service program at the Moss Free Clinic building. Bedway has worked for the hospital for 23 years. She recalled the time she was at the old Mary Washington Hospital as a helicopter arrived to pick up a critically injured child.

The hospital was on Fall Hill Avenue then in what is now known as the 2300 Building. Mary Washington did not have a trauma service, so accident victims in need of advanced care were usually airlifted out.

Helicopters came from Richmond, Charlottesville or Northern Virginia and landed on one of the ball fields at the adjacent James Monroe High School. Often the games had to be stopped so the helicopter could land.

Bedway recalled how she was nursing supervisor at the time and was standing on the loading dock of the hospital with the parents of the injured child. They watched as the child was loaded and the helicopter departed. Bedway said the parents were anxious to get in their car and follow the helicopter to Richmond and what was then called MCV.

Bedway said she knew that the child was badly injured, and she urged the parents to wait a few minutes before leaving. Sure enough, the helicopter turned around and landed soon after takeoff. The child did not make it.

Today many accident victims stay in Fredericksburg to be treated by Mary Washington’s trauma service, Bedway said. For their families, there is no frantic dash to somewhere else.