A Gift of Thanks – 3 Years (and 43 Surgeries) Later

Grant (second from right) with part of the STC team and his parents

Three years ago, Grant Harrison was in a horrific motorcycle crash.  It was a bright sunny day on the Eastern Shore when a large deer struck the motorcycle Grant was riding.  He was airlifted to UMMC’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center with multiple life threating injuries.

The fact that he is alive today is nothing short of astonishing. Grant had a fractured skull, severe traumatic brain injury, bleeding of the brain and severe injuries to his limbs.

Grant spent 58 days on the Neurotrauma Critical Care Unit, and has had 43 surgeries on his road to recovery.

Grant is a now a walking, talking (and hilarious) miracle.

Exactly three years after the accident, June 6, 2017, Grant, along with his mother and father, wanted to give thanks to the nurses and doctors at Shock Trauma who showed them extraordinary compassion and care throughout this life-altering experience.

They brought the Shock Trauma team a framed thank you letter, along with photos documenting Grant’s journey to recovery.  The gift is now hung along the walls of the Neurotrauma Critical Care Unit, right outside the Patient Family Waiting Area.

The Harrison Family hopes that families pacing those halls (like they did many times 3 years ago), will read the testimony and find hope and encouragement.

Read a portion of the family’s letter below:

“The doctors and nurses here not only care for the patient, but for you, the family as well. They will always hold a special place in our hearts for their kindness and compassion. We encourage you to listen well to them, as they will educate and guide you through this unexpected journey. The Trauma Survivor’s Network, a resource offered through the hospital, was also most helpful to us.”

Grant with TRU Nurse Christopher Wentker

 

Remembering Dr. R Adams Cowley: A Revolutionary & Pioneer of Trauma Medicine


Dr. Cowley in the old CCRU

Dr. Cowley (center) instructing in the old CCRU

Dr. R Adams Cowley passed away 25 years ago today, but his contributions will live on forever in the form of thousands of lives saved.

R Adams Cowley, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon, was the founder of United States’ first trauma center, University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, and the Maryland EMS System. He revolutionized trauma medicine and is responsible for the development of the “Golden Hour” concept. As Dr. Cowley explained in an interview: “There is a golden hour between life and death. If you are critically injured you have less than 60 minutes to survive. You might not die right then; it may be three days or two weeks later — but something has happened in your body that is irreparable.”


Drs. Gens and Cowley

Dr. Cowley (left) with fellow trauma surgeon Dr. Gens in 1983

“R Adams Cowley was a pioneer, a man of immense vision and the father of American trauma care systems,” Dr. Thomas Scalea, Shock Trauma Physician-in-Chief, said. “At a time when we take organized trauma care for granted, it is important to remember that none of this would have happened without him and a few others who refused to take no for an answer. They fought the political and medical battles to demonstrate that organized trauma care saves lives. I am privileged to continue his legacy.”


Open Heart Surgery

A Baltimore Sun photo shows Dr. Cowley performing open-heart surgery on a 2-year-old boy

After many years of research and discussion, in 1958, the Army awarded Dr. Cowley a contract for $100,000 to study shock in people. He developed the first clinical shock trauma unit in the nation; the unit consisted of two beds (later four beds). By 1960, staff was trained and equipment was in place.

In 1968, Dr. Cowley negotiated to have patients brought in by military helicopter to get them to the shock trauma unit more quickly. After much discussion with the Maryland State Police, the first med-evac transport occurred in 1969 after the opening of the five-story, 32-bed Center for the Study of Trauma.

In 1970, Dr. Cowley expanded his dream, feeling that not a single patient should be denied the state-of-the-art treatment available at his trauma center in Baltimore. He envisioned a statewide system of care funded by the state of Maryland available to anyone who needed it.

Airport Drill

Dr. Cowley leads a drill at the airport

His dream became a reality with the intervention of former Governor Marvin Mandel. Governor Mandel became interested in Dr. Cowley’s program when a close friend was severely injured in a car crash. In 1973, the Governor issued an executive order establishing the Center for the Study of Trauma as the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medicine. The order simultaneously created the Division of Emergency Medical Services. Dr. Cowley was appointed as director.

Maryland had the first statewide EMS system, and it, like the Shock Trauma Center, has become a model worldwide. Countless lives have been saved due to Dr. Cowley’s vision.

r-adams-cowley-studentsWe thank you, Dr. Cowley, and will always remember your legacy.

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Celebrating the 46th Anniversary of the First Maryland State Police Medevac Mission: March 19, 1970

By Sergeant Chad Gainey; Maryland State Police Aviation Unit, Flight Paramedic

As we mark Saturday’s 46th anniversary of the first medevac mission completed by the Maryland State Police, we reflect on a few of the accomplishments the MSP Aviation Command has achieved.

The Maryland State Police Aviation Division medical mission profile began in November 1960 with the acquisition of a Hiller UH12E helicopter. This aircraft was used primarily for police missions, however a medical “support” profile was soon established and thus began the idea of medical evacuation for the citizens of Maryland.

medevac 1Although systematic medical care was not provided on board, this aircraft transported medical patients such as heart attack victims and expectant mothers following severe snowstorms. Medical rescues were performed with the Hiller as early as 1966, but not under a complete system of enroute care.

medevac 2Within a few years, that concept would come to life. Dr. R Adams Cowley, perhaps best known for being the father of the “Golden Hour” concept in trauma medicine, collaborated with MSP Pilot Robert Y. Wolfe and other Maryland leaders to close the most significant gap in trauma care.

medevac 3On March 19, 1970 at 11:20 am, the first “Medevac” was completed under a complete system of enroute medical care. Originally called “Helicopter 108”, pilot Corporal Gary Moore and Trooper First Class Paul Benson responded to a traffic accident on the Baltimore Beltway (Interstate 695) and Falls Road and transported a patient to what was then known as the Center for the Study of Trauma, now known as the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, in a Turbine powered Bell Jet Ranger aircraft.

On that day, MSP formally expanded its role into the world of emergency medical services (EMS). That medevac mission marked the first time a civilian agency transported a critically injured trauma patient by helicopter; never before had this been done in a non-military setting.

Since that time, many changes have occurred to improve what today is called the Maryland State Police Aviation Command and the Maryland medevac system. MSP and Shock Trauma have earned a worldwide reputation as leaders in trauma care.

medevac 4The procurement of the AS365 Dauphin helicopters in the late 1980s provided additional enhancements for the fleet, such as increased speed, the added safety component of two engines, and additional space to accommodate two patients.

 

 

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In 2013, the Maryland State Police began flying the latest and greatest technology in the form of the AugustaWestland AW139 helicopters. Additional safety measures were incorporated, along with the addition of a second pilot and a second medical provider to the standard flight crew.

More than 148,000 patients have been transported since that day in March 1970. The Maryland State Police Aviation Command, in conjunction with other medical partners around the State, and with the continuing support of our citizens, their government representatives, and other stakeholders, have made the Maryland Medevac system a success story for many patients and their families.medevac photo 6

Blue Holiday Service Acknowledges Darkness While Seeking Growth and Hope

By Susan Roy, DMin, BCC
Pastoral Care Director

As hospital chaplains working with patients, families and our fellow staff members, we know that the stream of cheerful holiday messages and images might only make it harder for individuals experiencing grief or loss. Each year, we offer a series of services for people who seek a more reflective way of coping with the holidays.

I am just finishing the program for our Blue Holiday services later today (12:45 p.m.; 5 p.m.; and 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.) and hope that it will be meaningful for anyone who is feeling a bit blue this holiday season. Around the country, similar services might also be called a Longest Night service because it occurs on the winter solstice — Dec. 22, the day of the year that has the fewest hours of sunlight. Regardless of the name used, these programs acknowledge the darkness that may also be part of our holiday season.

Arranged in four parts, the service is reflective – not depressing – and moves from darkness to light while keeping a balance between the two. The four parts are loneliness, death, growth and hope. Each of the four parts includes lighting a candle, a reading, and a musical selection. During each of the four parts of the service, participants will be invited to come forward to place flowers in a wreath to represent those whom they remember.

For example: during the first music segment – about loneliness — I might place a flower for my frustration at work; during the second, I might place four flowers to remember three people who have died and a friend who is estranged from me; during the third, I might place a flower for the way I am growing in my faith; during the fourth, I might place two flowers, one for world peace and another for hope.

The service acknowledges the darkest night of the year and symbolically allows us to acknowledge the darker parts of the human condition and our own lives. In the midst of darkness, we still experience moments of light and hints of hope.

In addition to the spiritual help needed, here are some practical tips from two physicians at UMMC.

Baltimore’s Grand Prix Track a Block Away from the Nation’s First Trauma Center

As race car drivers hurtle along city streets at speeds of more than 150 miles per hour this weekend during Baltimore’s Grand Prix, they might find it reassuring to know that if they crash, they are only moments away from the nation’s first trauma center, the world-renowned University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland gave the world the concept of the “golden hour” and integrated trauma care.

The trauma center is nearly track-side, located at Lombard and Penn Streets, a block away from the race course.

A few facts about the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center:

  • The Level I trauma center treats 8,000 of the region’s most badly injured and critically ill people each year — making it one of the largest trauma centers in the country.
  • 97 percent of the patients survive.
  • About 60 percent of its patients are injured in motor-vehicle crashes.
  • Thousands of medical personnel have trained at the Shock Trauma Center and applied their training to start and develop trauma and EMS systems in other states and countries.
  • Military medical personnel train at Shock Trauma before deploying overseas.
  • Shock Trauma pioneered the scientific research of trauma care and the concept of treating patients within the “golden hour” in order to save their lives.

Real-Life Heroes Recognized at UMMC

By Malissa Carroll
Web Content Developer

Eight health care professionals from the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine were recently recognized as finalists in the Daily Record’s 2011 Health Care Heroes awards program.

From a transplant surgeon who pioneered the use of single-incision laparoscopic kidney removal to benefit those selfless individuals who step forward to donate kidneys to their loved ones at the UMMC Transplant Center to an oncology nurse who rallied individuals in the UMMC community to knit and crochet more than 100 lap blankets for cancer patients this past holiday season, these individuals embody the spirit of the word “hero” and make a positive impact on the lives of others each day.

For more information about the finalists, please visit the Health Care Heroes Finalists page on the UMMC Web site, which features a complete list of the eight UMMC finalists, the reason each was nominated and a wealth of related links and information.

UMMC Nurse, Son, Use Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Experience to Help Others

By Deborah Yohn
Registered Nurse, UMMC’s Shock Trauma Center

I will never forget the day I received the call. The person on the other end of the line said, “I am calling with an alert call. I need you to get your husband and let him know there is a possibility he will be going to Iraq. He needs to give me a call for orders and the location of where to report.” From that moment on, my family’s life was turned upside down as we tried to get our affairs in order for a long separation.

My husband’s unit returned one year later to Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The days and nights of wondering if we would ever see him once again were at an end, but the difficult journey for my family wasn’t over. Although we survived what was thought to be the most difficult part of the deployment, we soon came to understand that things can be even more difficult once our soldier returned home. Evidence of the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) my husband was struggling with soon began to show.

PTSD Became a “Four-Letter Bad Word”

For my family, PTSD became a “four-letter bad word.” My son Isaac (pictured above with his mom), who was under 10 years old at the time, had no idea what PTSD was, but he knew that it was difficult, bad and scary. It was because of the support I received from fellow nurses at the University of Maryland Medical Center that I was able to get the assistance I needed to begin the process of learning and healing.

My husband’s physical injury was easy to define and treat. The prognosis was clear, and there were no unpredictable factors in his care. He had surgery at UMMC, and though his recovery and physical therapy were difficult, it was expected. Recovering from PTSD, however, proved to be the exact opposite. This disorder had become something that held my husband hostage, and was destroying my family. At first, I thought things would just work out by themselves. After all, no one talked about PTSD, so it couldn’t be that difficult to recover from, right?

It was difficult trying to hold all the pieces together and keep things at home “normal, quiet and predictable.” Actually, it was impossible. Children are not quiet, nor are they predictable, so PTSD became my new best friend. I also learned about another condition known as “Secondary PTSD.” The effects of my husband’s PTSD trickled down to the whole family, making life very difficult, stressful and, at times, even made us feel hopeless.

Journal of Healing Turns into Book to Help Others

In my search for a book to explain what was happening in our family to my son, I found nothing that was helpful. We all started working with a therapist who suggested I write a journal with my son, so each night my son and I would snuggle up and take about ten minutes to write about PTSD. It became our quiet time together, and a time of healing. Together, we wrote a story about our journey.

When my son was finished with our little project, the therapist wanted to read the book. At the time, I was not at all happy with the thought of sharing something so personal. I had struggled with the title my son gave the book, Never Lose Your Hope. In all my years as a nurse, wife and mother of three, hope was always alive. The glass was always half-full, so to speak, and I could smile through just about anything. I had no idea that my son had begun to lose hope that things would ever be normal again. I was aware of the changes in myself and in the family, but thought I hid them well. I had no clue that my hope of recovering from this seemed to have disappeared and my son had noticed.

After giving the book to the therapist, she suggested that we publish it because she felt it was a resource that could help many other children and families dealing with the same situation. Our story is a story about PTSD as told through the eyes of a child. This little book is our attempt to normalize PTSD and provide a tool for other children who have a family member who has returned home after serving his or her country different than when he or she left. It is a quick read — only 40 pages — but there are no pictures because my son thought pictures would make the book pretty, and to him, there is nothing pretty about PTSD.

If you would like to order Never Lose Your Hope, please visit www.PublishAmerica.com or www.amazon.com.

Construction Update: Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower

By Marianne Rowan-Braun
Director for the Campaign for the Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower

Six months into the construction of our new Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower, this photo captures one of an endless stream of helicopters arriving with someone from Maryland in need of life-saving care. The Shock Trauma team is here 24 hours each day waiting to respond. Our new building will be opening for you in 2013.

As the work progresses, inside and out, we look to the community to help us meet a $35 million goal to expand and sustain the first and only integrated trauma hospital in the nation.

Every gift helps to enable our mission of serving people in Maryland during their time of great need.

To help, please click here, and donate what you can.

Trauma Surgeon Heals Patients and Their Violent Ways

R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center surgeon Dr. Carnell Cooper started the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) in 1998 after seeing victims of traumatic violent injury being treated, released, and readmitted months later due to another, often more serious, violent injury.

Seeing this caused Dr. Cooper to ask a simple scientific question: “How can we reduce the number of repeat victims of intentional violent injury coming through the doors of Shock Trauma every day?”

The VIP — an intensive hospital-based intervention program that assists victims of intentional violent injury, including gunshots, stabbings, and beatings — has done just that by providing victims assessment, counseling, and social support from a multi-disciplinary team to help them make critical changes in their lives.

Dr. Cooper was recognized by CNN as one its “CNN Heroes” in 2009 for his work with VIP. See the videos below to learn more.

An Inspirational Groundbreaking Blessing

By Reverend Dr. Susan Roy
Director, Department of Pastoral Care Services

Editor’s Note: Reverend Susan Roy’s blessing at the groundbreaking ceremony for our new trauma/critical care building on May 13 was a very fitting and elegant beginning to this project. We’ve received several requests for a copy of her words, so we’ve decided to post them here for all to see.

As we bless this ground, we stand at a sacred intersection where science and technology meet grace and humanity. As we bless this ground, we set it apart for the special purpose of healing body, mind and spirit.

May the Architect of our Lives:

Bless those whose vision has brought us to this moment. Those who gave form to the void; who labored tirelessly to raise resources; who honed plans and laid a firm foundation.

Bless this ground that gives of itself to support this structure — the earth teeming with life — and the soil that calls forth our own mortality. May this building live lightly on this earth, using resources sparingly and respectfully.

Bless those who will construct this building. May they have safe working conditions and may no harm befall them. May the jobs created by this project sustain families who call this city their home.

Bless future generations who will come here to work, young graduates who will dream dreams and the wise tenured that they may still see visions, that all might experience meaning and purpose in their work. Cement the past and the future with the present that we may be of one accord in our mission.

Bless the construction of open spaces and healing gardens to breathe the fresh air of cold, winter snow and humid, summer nights; to feel wind on face and rain on skin; that there may be a balm in Gilead.

Bless this structure that it might be strong enough to hold a parent’s grief and porous enough to allow our own humanity to seep through our sterile procedures. May it pulsate with our good deeds and may it flow with justice and compassion for all who seek healing within its walls.

Let the people say “Amen.”