Promoting Excellence in Maryland's Trauma Care

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related to all aspects of trauma care delivery

Trauma Survivors Month on Midday Maryland

On the May 30th, 2023 edition of Midday Maryland, host, Elsa, talked about Trauma Survivors Month with Tim Poole – Trauma Survivor – and Justin Graves – Director of Trauma Programs at Shock Trauma. 

Thank you Tim & Justin for sharing your story on Midday Maryland.

During the segment, Tim shares his trauma story. He was involved in a motorcycle accident while traveling. He was transported to Shock Trauma Tim had a TBI and told that he wouldn’t drive or work for 5 months. Tim is just past those 5 months now and in great recovery. Justin shared a unique program called Gratitude Rounds at Shock Trauma – allowing the team to reconnect with patients and their why for trauma care. Staff sees the amazing recovery of patients who they have taken care. Check out the video below for more on Tim’s Story and Gratitude Rounds. 

Tim would like to share a Caring Bridge piece that his mom wrote about his story while at and after his care at Shock Trauma. The piece explains what his mom experienced with Tim after the collision. 

Six months ago on November 5, Tim had his motorcycle accident, and I got a call from the Anne Arundel County Police. The officer said… I’m sorry to have to inform you… Before he even finished his sentence, I knew it was about Tim and his motorcycle. And I knew he was dead. But the trooper stopped short of saying that and instead said, “he was still breathing when they loaded him into the Medivac.” I began to wail.

Although I didn’t handle the call well – At ALL, with the help of a friend, I eventually started to move about like a zombie preparing to travel. Friends helped me pack and Greg bought me a very expensive airline ticket so I could get to Baltimore as soon as humanly possible. I put my suitcase by the door, sat in my recliner, and waited for my friend to pick me up and take me to the airport at 4 a.m. I sat up all night fielding questions from the Shock Trauma triage staff. We need permission to transfuse blood, we can’t get the bleeding stopped. We need permission to place Tim on a ventilator. We need permission to drill a burr hole into Tim’s skull to relieve pressure on the brain. Every time they called, I asked for an assessment on his current condition, and they always gave me the same answer, “He’s still breathing.” I accepted this lame response because it was better than the alternative, which I was expecting at any time.

The next real vivid memory I have is of Atlanta Airport. The biggest airport in the world, it’s most likely you’ll have to take their tram to get from one concourse to another. I found the tram and got on it, but I couldn’t focus long enough to get off at my stop. I don’t know how many times I went round and round on the tram, until the voice in my head said, “GET A GRIP, YOU IDIOT, OR YOU’LL MISS YOUR FLIGHT!!!

I eventually made it to BWI where Tim’s buddy, Byron, picked me up and we rushed to the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. Tim’s big brother, Greg, was waiting outside and we hugged in a way that said… This can’t really be happening? It was totally surreal. Now I was bedside and the heavy lifting began… would he ever wake up? would he ever be functional again? I repeatedly asked these questions of  the Shock Trauma doctors and nurses, but they never gave me hope beyond his condition at that “moment,” making you painfully aware that no future moments were guaranteed.

Tim is doing well, although he has had to make some sacrifices. He has completed most rehab, 40 appointments. Although he is continuing to do his own rehab at the gym. His left shoulder was forced out of the socket on impact and the shoulder girdle was fractured. This will never be the same no matter the amount of rehab he does

After Tim was released from Shock Trauma, I requested his medical records and soon they arrived – all 2,500 pages. But it wasn’t until then that I was able to piece together what happened when Tim was admitted to triage. I wanted to know what was actually happening all those times ST gave me all those vague answers. The medical field likes to use universal scoring systems to rate patients and there’s many different types. The Glasgow Coma Scale has been around for years and I started to follow his scores while in triage. Ranging from mild, a score of 15 down to 3, being the worst. I hastily combed through the medical record and there it was: Tim had scored a 3, not expected to survive. My stomach churned. He had dodged a bullet.  WE had dodged a bullet.

This Trauma Mama is going to wrap it up for now. But I will post again. Tim has been working with the people at ST as an example of how a patient who experienced severe trauma can go through their programs and protocols, and receive the care of their highly skilled professionals, and recover from trauma.

Thanks for sticking with us through this crazy journey. As he’s gotten back out into the community people often approach him with hugs and tears, telling him how much they have been routing for him. He is overwhelmed with the number of people who have followed him down this path. He has been humbled by it.

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