A Lifesaving Flight


Tayton Winward doesn’t remember his ride on AirMed, but he carries a strong connection with the helicopter that saved his life. “Every time we see AirMed he asks ‘is that my helicopter?’” said Kali Winward, Tayton’s mother. 

November 16, 2012 is a day Tayton’s mother will never forget. Tayton, who was 7 years old at the time, was one of four young boys who were burned after a gas can caught fire in Perry, Utah. He suffered the most critical injuries including burns on his arms, hands, face and inhalation burns.

“I remember him running home after the accident,” said Kalli. “We live really close to the hospital so I just drove him there.”

Moments later, Tayton was being flown by AirMed to University of Utah Health's Burn Center. 

“AirMed was there so quickly,” said Kali. “I know their quick response saved his life.” 

Tayton remained in the hospital for the next 40 days. He spent 30 of those days intubated as his burns healed. 

With many unknowns, the staff at the Burn Center guided the family through those forty days. “The staff became like family,” said Kali. “I never had one nurse that I didn’t feel could treat him any better.” 

After weeks of grueling treatment and therapy, the family received some welcome news. “We got to bring him home on Christmas Day. How do you top that Christmas?” 

Tayton continues to receive follow up care at the Burn Center. Each summer he also attends burn camp where he’s made many friends. “It’s great for him to be around other kids who have been through the same.” 

He was able to reconnect with one of those friends during a follow up stay in the burn unit. Tayton’s bunkmate was just a few rooms down the hall during an inpatient visit. “It made it seem like it was a play date, not a hospital stay,” said Kali. 

After months of searching for “his helicopter,” Tayton finally found the aircraft that flew him on that fateful day. “We stopped the car and took a picture in front of it. The pilot even showed us the inside of the helicopter.” 

Kali says her heart drops each time she sees an AirMed helicopter go by. “I am so thankful for all they do,” she said. “I know they were part of helping save my son’s life.”

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