When Mike Hite went over his handlebars on his mountain bike riding in Palmer Park and heard his neck break, he was concerned that he might have done permanent damage to his spine. His concerns were eased, the more medical professionals worked on him, giving him the critical trauma care he needed.
Mike says “Starting with the ambulance ride, and the guys getting me on the backboard, really it was everybody involved. There wasn’t a moment that I was being moved that somebody didn’t have a firm grip on my head.”
Dr. Paul Reckard with UCHealth Memorial, a recently named level I trauma center says when it comes to treating a potential spine injury it all begins with the paramedics who get to the patient first. “It’s absolutely critical that our EMS providers are grilled from day 1 of their training to be mindful of potential spinal cord injuries, until such time as we can ascertain how serious the injuries are.”
Another thing that helped Mike remain calm was the way the medical staff was interacting with him. Mike recalls, “They were always reassuring me, telling me this is what we’re going to do, this is how it’s going to happen, and this is why we are doing it."
Dr. Reckard says Mike was very lucky, because his injury could have been much worse. “I remember Mike being very fortunate with the accident he had. His cervical spine injuries were relatively minor. We do occasionally see folks who have this same accident that come in with spinal cord injuries who are then paralyzed for a long period of time.
Mike feels he was blessed, not only in the outcome of his accident, but also in the quality of care received. “A doctor came in and said ‘you’re a lucky dude.’ He explained that the bones were broken but none of the nerves were displaced. They put me in a full body brace to let the bones heal. I was in the hospital for 3 days, and a month later on my last doctor visit he said “You’re good to go.’, and I’m going.”