Area doctor gives back by flying patients to doctors appointments

KFDA Amarillo doctor gives back through Angel Flight

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Dr. Fred Poage is the medical director at the Northwest freestanding emergency rooms and is helping patients not only in the ER but also in the Air.

Through a program called Angel Flight, Dr. Poage fly’s patients who require medical assistance to and from appointments in other cities, all for free.

Sebastian is four months old was born with multiple complications.

“He has an imperfect anus, he has a form of spina bifida called myelomeningocele, and he has one kidney. And that one kidney has multiple cysts it, and he was also born with bilateral clubbed feet, and he has a reflex that’s going up into his kidney, and he also has hypospadias,” said Veronica Eakins, Sebastian’s mom.

These complications are requiring Sebastian to seek medical treatment in Fort Worth, sometimes as often as every week.

That’s where the program Angel Flight and Dr. Fred Poage came to the rescue, flying Sebastian to and from doctors' appointments, and for free.

“Dr. Poage was the one that flew us back from our first trip, and he’s pretty much been the same one that’s taken us back and forth on most of our trips we were going once a week for his clubfoot. He had to be fitted every week so that we would go every week for that,” said Eakins.

“A lot of patients, they’re needing, is patients anywhere from Sebastian’s age with birth defects needing specialist care in a higher-level facility such as Cook Children’s or Texas Scottish Rite, all the way up to patients in their 80s and 90s that are requiring chemotherapy at MD Anderson in Houston, and so patients can require flights, every week, every two weeks once a month. You know it’s whatever their needs are,” said Dr. Fred Poage, Angel Flight pilot.

Dr. Poage has been flying with Angel Flight for six months. He says the need for patient flights is high, but Angel Flight was only able to help less than half of the request for flights this past year.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had over 4,000 requests for missions, but we’ve only been able to support 1,500. Again I think that goes back to a limited number of pilots, and I think lack of awareness,” said Dr. Poage.

These small and private flights help keep patients like Sebastian away from germs that can be spread if they were traveling commercial, as well as cut downtime, spent traveling, especially with an illness.

“The last thing that we want to have to deal with is, you know, finances, yes we can drive, and we have driven down there on several occasions, but with him being in the car seat it’s hard on him, the past where he doesn’t like the car seat at all as it is, and in a car seat for seven hours with him in braces cast surgeries it’s beneficial for him to be in an airplane. It takes him an hour and a half to get there versus seven,” said Eakins.

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