Saturday, March 19, 2011

When Minutes Count...

Back in December right before Christmas, we received word at the ER in which I work that we were receiving a horribly injured young man from a head-on collison. Scrambling to prepare for his arrival (the accident occured outside Chinook on the Washington side of the Columbia River, and not that far from Astoria) - we feared the worst. The ambulance report was grim. Ben was unconscious and had an extremely low blood pressure. He arrested shortly after arrival, requiring CPR for several minutes while we performed multiple interventions - chest tubes, central lines, squeezing in units of blood as fast as they would go in. Lifeflight was on the ground, and the crew was ready to fly him to Emanuel (the big trauma hospital) as soon as we could stabilize him.

Ben's family and friends started a blog almost immediately, and I have been following his progress since the accident. Ben's case was an amazing example of tremendous teamwork, everything going right, and faith. I'm sure faith played a role.

Yesterday I attended a trauma conference in Portland highlighting three amazing trauma "saves." Ben Suprunowski was one of them. The panel that discussed his case included a First Responder, EMT, Lifeflight crew member, one of our Astoria surgeons, and Emanuel Hospital's trauma surgeon Dr. Long. I even got to comment on the Astoria part of his resuscitation (so glad the 200+ people in the auditorium were behind me so I couldn't see them). The best part of all? Ben was there. What an amazing young man. He makes me believe in miracles. Statistically speaking, cardiac arrest due to blunt force trauma is fatal. It used to be one of the "death in the field" criteria used by paramedics (along with decapitation, rigor mortis, etc.). Guess it's time to rethink that one.

A reporter from one of the Portland TV stations was at the conference:

I wish all our traumas had happy endings. Here's Ben's van:


Anonymous said...

deanna, this is great!! i am so glad that you were able to attend this conference and meet ben!! i am so thankful for you and your team at cmh, i being one of the really sick patience that has entered that er sooo many times i myself have you all to thank for my life!!! keep up the great work!!!

flyingbeader said...

I too use to be a responder for traumas while working at the downtown hospital. We'd get car accident's like Ben which sometimes did not have such a ending. The "dance" of the team is amazing to be a part of especially when you get to see the people recovered & going back to daily life. I think one of the worse cases I'd been a part of was a botched robbery at a local restaurant. The manager, a young woman, had been shot multiple times in the abdomen. We all worked hours and hours doing everything possible, but she did not survive. Later, her family wrote a letter to the CEO thanking everyone for trying to save their loved ones life. Our group just broke down and cried. So much tragedy, but so many lives saves by the unsung heroes at trauma units all over this world.

Unknown said...

This is such an awesome story, and I'm so glad it turned out well for Ben, Deanna. Your ER team is awesome!! Sometimes things just don't work out well, for one or many reasons, and that's got to be so hard for everyone in the ER.
LaMont and I and our families are so grateful that his aneurysm was found and that it didn't burst before they got him to surgery. We are so glad we live now and not a hundred years ago!!!!