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Three Attempts to Save Her

Heroes Remember


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Three Attempts to Save Her

I remember one case in particular this kid, a little girl. She was only about seven or eight, I guess. We got the message to go pick her up. She had a punctured lung and she had some upper respiratory problems and a lot of lacerations from explosive devices. And mostly on the upper body and in that area and she had fractured ribs, broken arm and other things. Anyway the first time we went over to get her we got landed. I went in to screen to make sure she was still be able to make the flight over. And we got another message that we weren’t allowed to take her. The kids at the time, the two factions in Sarajevo would often use them as bartering tools. And, of course, they would come to an agreement and we would have to go up to Sarajevo and then everything would be administratively from there. And sometimes they would change their minds as with this girl. They’d change their minds and we couldn’t get them. On the third attempt we went over and we were finally able to take her. Of course there are days in between so by this time she had deteriorated quite a bit and I didn’t think she could make it back. We tried everything on the aircraft. We had to incubate her, you know, oxygen, keep her going and she was alive when she got off the aircraft and the Italian Red Cross picked her up, got her into the O.R. She was just not strong enough to make it. It breaks your heart because if we got her the first time.

As flight nurse, Simmonds shares a story of a situation where a young child was denied aid from their team and when given permission to help it was too late!

Cavell Simmonds

Ms. Cavell Simmonds was born March 1, 1951 in Bishop Falls, Newfoundland. Receiving her degree in nursing, Ms. Simmonds began her career in public hospitals. In 1974, she made the choice to join the military and during her service, she held rank of captain in the role of nurse in-Canada service as well as overseas deployments to Bosnia and Rwanda with the air force branch having responsibility of flight nurse during these overseas missions. Ms. Simmonds retired from the military in 2009 with 35 years service. Stricken with PTSD, she has found support through Soldier On and this year, 2018, she was chosen to be part of Team Canada for the Invictus Games held in Sydney, Australia. To her credit, Ms. Simmonds is the oldest member of Team Canada and successfully obtained a bronze medal in archery and Best Female Competitor in golf. Ms. Simmonds holds great pride for her accomplishments and is proud to be wearing the Canadian Maple leaf again as part of Team Canada Invictus 2018! She now resides in Calgary, Alberta.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
July 25, 2018
Person Interviewed:
Cavell Simmonds
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Air Force

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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