On Valentine’s Day 2023, Roger Quehl IV left his apartment in Portland to go visit his parents in Searsmont, where he grew up. An outdoor education instructor, Roger had spent the previous year out west leading hikes, rock climbing adventures, and other outdoor experiences for children and adults. He had recently driven home to Maine from Colorado and was planning to stay for a few months.
That evening, driving along Route 17, a truck veered into his lane and hit his car head-on. “I was told that I was in the car for about two hours,” Roger said. “There were 40-plus people on the scene trying to save my life.”
The People & Places Behind Roger’s Story
Scene call (Jefferson) to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center (Bangor)
His injuries were extensive. He broke nine bones, including several open fractures, sustained injuries to internal organs, and was given three units of blood by the LifeFlight team on scene — all the blood that LifeFlight carries. Roger was flown to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Bangor, where he was put into a medically induced coma. He says he’s lucky to be alive.
“Sometimes we’re called for the unique medical capabilities that we bring and sometimes we’re called for speed,” said LifeFlight nurse Veronica Marzonie. “In Roger’s case, he needed both. The fact that on a cold, dark winter evening, miles from a hospital, he could receive a blood transfusion was part of what bought him the time to get to the trauma center experts at EMMC.”
Six months later at the end of August, Roger walked into LifeFlight’s hangar in Bangor with a smile on his face and met the clinical crew members who cared for him. “Meeting them was a surreal thing,” Roger recalled. “These people saved my life, but I didn’t really have any idea who they are. Getting to talk to them, I got to see the emotion and how that impacted them on a personal level,” Roger recalled.
By Fall 2023, Roger was back to hiking and rock climbing again, much sooner than even he expected. “Overall, I’m pushing through and trying to challenge myself,” he said. He’s planning to remain in Maine at least for the winter, and while he’s here, he has enrolled in an EMT training course as he figures out what comes next.
First published as the June feature story in the LifeFlight of Maine 2024 Calendar.