Last week UCHealth Memorial was designated by the state of Colorado as a level I trauma center. It’s the kind of medical care you hope you or a loved one never needs. It’s also the kind of medical care that if you do need it, you are glad it’s available right here in Colorado Springs.
Christine O’Brien learned the hard way about the talented and skilled medical professionals at Memorial. “This hospital is a hidden gem, and unless you really have the opportunity to need the trauma department here and need the experts that are here… I had no idea until that morning.”
That morning was October 18th, 2016. Christine’s then 17-year-old daughter London was late for school, and admittedly speeding when a deer suddenly appeared in the road in front of her. She overcorrected and rolled her SUV several times.
London remembers, “I was ejected and the car landed on top of me. The next thing I remember is waking up at Memorial.”
Christine was following right behind the ambulance, “The chaplain met me at the desk and walked me into the room where they were already working on London. They brought me right in and they let me hold her hand. There must have been 20 people in that room working on her.”
Dr. Paul Reckard specializes in trauma and acute surgery at Memorial. He was on duty when London came into the emergency department. When things began to get dicey Christine was taken back out to the waiting room. Christine says she clearly remembers that doctor Reckard had her brought back into the emergency department and told her “You need to know she is going to make it, and she is a fighter.”
While his medical expertise was needed to help save London, Dr. Reckard’s communication to Christine helped her navigate an emotionally difficult situation.
Dr. Reckard says, “That’s probably the most important part of the job. To try and to reassure families, or to give them an honest assessment of what’s going to happen with their loved one.”
Today, London is heading to college next year and she knows it’s because of the many professionals involved in her care. “For me it boils down to why they came into work that day, the fact that their occupations, if they don’t show up one day people could die. It’s such a critical job they have, to have people’s lives in their hands and they do an excellent job of really taking that to heart.”
Tomorrow we’ll tell you what it took to put London back to together, and we’ll be taking an indepth look at more trauma cases and meeting more people whose lives have been forever changed in future stories.