North Dakota girl gets chance to meet her Sioux Falls heroes

Published: Aug. 26, 2016 at 9:02 PM CDT
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Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, springing into action at our most desperate hour. Then many times they leave us without a chance to say thank you. Well tonight, one little girl was recently given that rare chance to meet the heroes who helped save her life.

It takes just two words to describe Fera Heckman's excitement.

"Pretty Amazing!" said Fera Heckman.

Today she's getting the VIP treatment at Avera eCARE, the telemedicine network that played a critical role in her young life.

"Just for her to be able to walk around when the first time she ever met Dr. Skow she was hanging onto her life you know by a thread? It could've totally went a different way and we are very thankful and amazed to be here." said Melissa Heckman, Fera's mother.

8 weeks ago, Fera was involved in an ATV accident in rural Montana. A rollover that let her body crushed.

"I remember saying... or somebody saying, you are going to be OK! and then I remember going into the hospital car." recalled the ten year-old.

Her mother called 9-1-1, but they were still in the middle of nowhere. More than an hour away from Sheridan Memorial Hospital in Plentywood, Montana.

"I knew it was a little hospital and I did not know what kind of care was going to be waiting for us on the other end." said Melissa Heckman.

What the Heckman's didn't know was that efforts to save their daughters life had already begun.

"In this case we were able to bring our level one trauma center to them." said Dr. Brian Skow, an emergency medicine specialist with Avera eCARE.

Dr. Skow was the e-emergency physician on duty that day. Through Avera eCARE, his team remotely coordinated with the trauma room, got a flight team on their way, and from his tv monitor in Sioux Falls, Dr. Skow's voice directed the hand's of the physician's assistant almost 700 miles away.

"With him just to be so separate, but so right there and be able to just calmly tell them everything as if you were standing right there!" said Melissa Heckman.

"It was essentially a marathon session and at the end both of us were just exhausted and she did an incredible job essentially saving Fera's life." said Dr. Skow.

Fera has since had surgeries to fix two collapsed lungs along with numerous spine, rib, and arm fractures. Which makes this day even more incredible.

"To see her up and walking and doing so well is just amazing." said Dr. Skow.

Not only was this visit a chance for Fera and her family to say thank you, she got to see how Dr. Skow makes medical magic.Meeting your heroes is, by itself, a special experience, but these two share a bond stronger than just doctor and patient. You see, Fera's birthday is September 16th.

"The same day as Dr. Skow's birthday!" said Fera.

"It's pretty remarkable. So I will never forget her birthday!" said Dr. Skow.

Her body may still be healing, but what can't be broken is the fearless spirit of this North Dakota girl.

JI: You're not afraid of getting back on an ATV are you?

Fera: next time I'm driving!

A fter waking from surgery, the first thing Fera asked was if anyone else was injured in the accident. So it comes as no surprise that she now wants to become a doctor and use her second chance to help save others.