Traumatic Experience Dramatic Recovery

A pelvis broken in five places, five broken ribs, a broken bone in her shoulder, a broken thumb and a damaged spleen and kidney were what faced 20-year-old Chelsea Pray and the trauma team who cared for her on May 13.

“My eye was the size of a softball. It was split wide open. They were amazed I didn’t lose it,” Chelsea recalled.

The day of the accident was a parent’s worst nightmare. For mom Marjorie Pray, it started with a police officer at her door, telling her to go the hospital. Her daughter had been in a car accident. Her husband, Kevin, had to race back from North Carolina.

Chelsea was bleeding internally and was immediately taken to surgery to remove her spleen. Surgeons would try to save her left kidney, but it, too, would have to be removed the next day.

“Her injury severity score was over 50 and a lot of people don’t survive with a score over 50,” noted Trauma Program Manager Chris McEachin, RN.

The care Chelsea received at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital highlights the range of specialists and the teamwork required to deliver trauma services. The coordinated care that begins with EMS and the ER specialists continues through surgery, the intensive care unit, other specialized hospital units and then outpatient services.

“It is not just the immediate availability of the surgeon, but the increased collaboration among specialties,” added McEachin. “People get around a table and discuss cases. We are connected and it shows in the care we are providing to our patients.”

“I think it was phenomenal the way they cared for her and for us,” Marjorie said. “They were unbelievably good with Chelsea. She had so many doctors, but they would come in and they all knew what was going on. They explained everything.”

Chelsea started physical therapy at the Henry Ford Macomb Health Center – Chesterfield just over a month after the accident and continues to recover.

“They all keep telling me how amazing I am. God definitely wanted me here.”

Trauma Center care extends beyond the ER

When people think of trauma, they often think of fast action in the ER and a sprint into the operating room. That certainly happens, but as Chelsea experienced, it is the entire team that puts patients back on the road to optimal health.

“To achieve verification as a Level II-Adult Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (COT), we had to demonstrate that we had the resources and processes in place throughout the organization to care for these often complex cases,” notes Peter Lopez, MD, Medical Director of Trauma Services. “It is a team of physicians and other clinicians, in addition to ancillary staff, working together to develop and implement the best plan of care. Our goal is to ensure that patients in our trauma program have the full support they need to recover, whether it is a young girl like Chelsea or a senior who has taken a fall.”

Trauma Program coordinator Chris McEachin, RN, and Injury Prevention Coordinator Sunny Squindo, RN, talk to patients and families about their lifestyle and potential needs before they leave the hospital. They also provide information about community resources.

“Creating that connection with patients makes a big difference in whether they take our recommendations to heart,” Squindo added. “We want them to be safe so we take the time to educate them and also provide necessary follow-up after they go home.”

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