Orlando Home and Leisure December 2008 : Page 109

WELLNESS GOOD AS GOLD Orlando’s Level One Trauma Center is one man’s miracle. B y D eb b ie M us e got that phone call on Labor Day weekend in 2002. They were packing for a trip to Cape Canaveral to spend a relaxing weekend at the beach with their friends, Kent and Lynn Shoemaker. Then the phone rang. “Don’t come,” said their friend on the other end of the line. “There’s been a terrible accident, and Kent is being airlifted to ORMC.” An avid surfer since he was a teen- I ager, Winter Park resident Kent Shoe- maker was surfing with his 13-year- old daughter, Rebecca. One minute he was riding waves, and the next, a wave crashed into him from behind, pitching him forward and planting his head in a sandbar, breaking his neck. With the assistance of a group of men, Rebecca helped bring Kent to dry land as fellow beach-goers phoned 911. While lying on the beach unable to move, but still conscious, Kent asked those around him to pray as he waited for the heli- copter that would airlift him to Orlando Regional Medical Center’s Level One Trauma Center. Blaine and Becky Sweatt arrived at the hospital just as the Air Care team landed and wheeled Kent in. “The doctors told him he would probably never walk again and might even be a quadriplegic,” Blaine says. “However, what happened was nothing short of amazing.” Within minutes of Kent’s arrival, a team of trauma surgeons performed a successful surgery on his neck. A few days later, he was transferred to the t’s the phone call no one wants to receive. In an instant, your world changes. Blaine and Becky Sweatt Shepherd Center in Atlanta for a 12- week rehabilitation program. Remark- ably, less than four weeks after the ac- cident, Kent was able to return home using only a cane as he walked through Orlando International Airport. On Thanksgiving Day, he ran the annual Turkey Trot 5K road race in downtown Orlando alongside his trauma surgeon, Steve Bailey. “Running in the Turkey Trot was one of my most memorable experiences from this accident,” Kent says. “When the gun went off to start the race, I ran a few steps, looked over next to me and saw Dr. Bailey was crying. He said, ‘Ken, you don’t understand. We’re not supposed to be here. This is just not supposed to be happening.’” Kent knows his case is unusual and not everyone recovers as well as he did. He credits his recovery not only to his strong faith but also to the care he received. ORLANDO HOME & LEISURE | 109

Wellness

Debbie Muse

GOOD AS GOLD Orlando’s Level One Trauma Center is one man’s miracle.<br /> <br /> It’s the phone call no one wants to receive. In an instant, your world changes. Blaine and Becky Sweatt got that phone call on Labor Day weekend in 2002. They were packing for a trip to Cape Canaveral to spend a relaxing weekend at the beach with their friends, Kent and Lynn Shoemaker.<br /> <br /> Then the phone rang. “Don’t come,” said their friend on the other end of the line.<br /> <br /> “There’s been a terrible accident, and Kent is being airlifted to ORMC.” An avid surfer since he was a teenager, Winter Park resident Kent Shoemaker was surfing with his 13-yearold daughter, Rebecca. One minute he was riding waves, and the next, a wave crashed into him from behind, pitching him forward and planting his head in a sandbar, breaking his neck.<br /> <br /> With the assistance of a group of men, Rebecca helped bring Kent to dry land as fellow beach-goers phoned 911. While lying on the beach unable to move, but still conscious, Kent asked those around him to pray as he waited for the helicopter that would airlift him to Orlando Regional Medical Center’s Level One Trauma Center.<br /> <br /> Blaine and Becky Sweatt arrived at the hospital just as the Air Care team landed and wheeled Kent in.<br /> <br /> “The doctors told him he would probably never walk again and might even be a quadriplegic,” Blaine says.<br /> <br /> “However, what happened was nothing short of amazing.” Within minutes of Kent’s arrival, a team of trauma surgeons performed a successful surgery on his neck. A few days later, he was transferred to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for a 12- week rehabilitation program. Remarkably, less than four weeks after the accident, Kent was able to return home using only a cane as he walked through Orlando International Airport. On Thanksgiving Day, he ran the annual Turkey Trot 5K road race in downtown Orlando alongside his trauma surgeon, Steve Bailey.<br /> <br /> “Running in the Turkey Trot was one of my most memorable experiences from this accident,” Kent says. “When the gun went off to start the race, I ran a few steps, looked over next to me and saw Dr. Bailey was crying. He said, ‘Ken, you don’t understand. We’re not supposed to be here. This is just not supposed to be happening.’” Kent knows his case is unusual and not everyone recovers as well as he did. He credits his recovery not only to his strong faith but also to the care he received.<br /> <br /> When Every Second Counts A trauma center is a hospital facility accredited by a state entity or the American College of Surgeons that’s capable of highly specialized treatment for the most critical injuries. The highest accreditation status is Level One, capable of caring for diving, industrial and auto accidents; gunshot wounds and stabbings; and falls and burns that require immediate, lifesaving medical intervention and treatment.<br /> <br /> There are just seven Level One centers in the entire state of Florida.<br /> <br /> “The goal is to get the patient to the best facility within one hour – we call it the Golden Hour,” explains former ORMC trauma program manager Joe Bob Pearce, MSN, RN.<br /> <br /> Established in 1983, the Trauma Center at ORMC is Central Florida’s only Level One facility and one of only seven around the state that provide the highest level of trauma care. In conjunction with ORMC’s Air Care Team, they provide helicopter response and trauma services to 16 counties.<br /> <br /> Level One trauma center hospitals must be able to provide care for every aspect of injury, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This requires that at least 15 different physician specialists be on call at all times. Led by the attending emergency medicine physician and trauma surgeon, 15 to 20 medical professionals are ready before a patient even arrives.<br /> <br /> These trauma centers also face rigid staffing and equipment requirements.<br /> <br /> They also must have access to an in-house burn unit and engage in extensive education, outreach and prevention programs. In addition, Florida statute mandates that all Level One trauma centers must be pediatric trauma centers.<br /> <br /> The Bert Martin’s Champions for Children Emergency Department & Trauma Center at Arnold Palmer Hospital provides Central Florida with access to a dedicated trauma care team for children.<br /> <br /> Trauma Care Future in Central Florida ORMC’s Level One trauma center currently cares for about 4,700 trauma patients a year – a significant increase over the 1,700 it served a little over a decade ago.<br /> <br /> “We’re now the second busiest trauma center in the state,”says ORMC’s Chief Medical Officer Timothy Bullard, M.D. “The center serves as an anchor for the community, ensuring we all have access to a full range of care by sub-specialty physicians unavailable in many other communities.” Because of the high level of care provided by a trauma center, the cost to run one is substantial. As a result of limited reimbursement and public funding, the ORMC Trauma Center relies heavily on philanthropic support. Recently, local philanthropist and ORMC volunteer Lori Gardner Sommer pledged $500,000 to help support the expansion of the hospital’s Emergency Department and Level One Trauma Center. Sommer is also a committee member for Orlando Health Foundation’s One Night gala, the hospital’s main fundraising and community awareness event.<br /> <br /> One Tragic Event Inspires Action Not only is Kent Shoemaker back at the beach and running road races, his accident inspired him and many around him to take action. He and his wife, Lynn, are serving as co-chairs of the 2009 One Night event alongside their friends, Blaine and Becky Sweatt.<br /> <br /> On Labor Day 2002, a wave may have broken Kent’s neck but not his spirit.<br /> <br /> And the trauma care he experienced only strengthened his spirit and resolve.<br /> <br /> “In so many ways, I feel like that day God turned me upside down and shook everything out of my pockets,” reflects Kent. “Since then, I have been very careful what I put back in.” To learn more about ORMC’s Level One Trauma Center, visit orlandohealth.Com. For information about the fourth annual One Night event to be held on April 29, 2009, contact Lindsey Clark at 321-841-7016 or lindsey.clark@orlandohealth. com.<br /> <br />

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