Close to noon on December 7, Bob Morphew, a 70-year-old Canadian, crashed his motorcycle on Salero Canyon Road. Marshal Joe Patterson was called to the scene, and he in turn called for an ambulance. Shortly afterward, Morphew was airlifted to University Hospital’s critical care wing with a punctured lung, broken ribs, a fractured right foot, and various lacerations.
Morphew’s jacket and cell phone did not make it onto the helicopter, so the next day Marshal Patterson took them to Morphew at the hospital. He learned that Morphew was in the Tucson area by himself, having driven from Ontario with his RV, a trailer, and his motorcycle. He was alone because his wife has terminal cancer and was with their daughter on a specially planned trip to Florida. Morphew did not want Patterson to contact his wife and spoil her trip, so for the next week or so, Patterson checked up on him, by phone or in person. When the patient felt well enough, Patterson helped move him to a motel and got his prescriptions filled.
For a few days it looked like the Canadian government would pay for a special medical evacuation. Sometime in that period, Morphew called his wife, who flew back to Canada to make arrangements, but the Canadians finally decided that Morphew didn’t qualify for a special flight, and so Mrs. Morphew came to Tucson.
When last contacted, Patterson said the couple was waiting for Morphew to feel healed enough to get home, where medical care is paid for by the government. Throughout this ordeal, Patterson has looked after Morphew’s interests and been a friendly presence in his life. He says he did what he would want someone else to do for him if he was injured and alone in a foreign country.