AUSTIN (KXAN) — Many in Austin’s first responder and medical community are getting ready for Friday’s service for Kristin McLain.
“You can never be prepared for this kind of situation,” said Dr. James Kempema, an associate emergency medical director at University Medical Center Brackenridge and medical director of STAR Flight.
Kempema became the STAR Flight medical director eight years ago, and McLain joined the team soon after.
“I don’t think you can put it into words how much she contributed to our organization,” he said. “Just an exceptional person who excelled at everything that she did.”
McLain was a primary flight nurse, working exclusively on the aircraft. She also trained others and knew the operation inside and out.
“The training is extensive and the commitment to safety is amazing, and that’s I think why we were all caught by surprise,” said Kempema.
Continuing Coverage: Kristin McLain
Kempema said McLain was a compassionate provider, a colleague he admired, and a family friend.
“She would go from saving lives one day to teaching my kids how to wake surf the next day,” Kempema said with tears in his eyes.
The entire STAR Flight team will attend her services Friday, and many UMC Brackenridge hospital staff members will be there too.
“We can put some closure to this event,” said Kempema, “because obviously it was something that was tragic and has affected us all very deeply.”
Kempema is a pallbearer for the funeral service. He said he has heard from several former paramedics and nurses who worked in Austin over the years who are coming into town for the funeral.