Trauma Care Miles from Home

Michael Collins of Odenton, Maryland, never spent a night in a hospital—until a Hummer collided with his motorcycle and he was transported to Meritus Medical Center’s trauma department. On an early fall day, Michael, a life-long motorcyclist, and his wife traveled to Thurmont to enjoy breakfast at a local restaurant. At an intersection not far from the restaurant, the Hummer forced Michael’s motorcycle off the road.

Michael’s wife sustained little injuries because he was “her airbag.” Michael, on the other hand, sustained seven broken ribs, a fractured shoulder blade and a collapsed lung, but he was fortunate to be alive. Local emergency medical services transported Michael to Meritus Medical Center, a level III trauma center.

“You know you’ve done well if you walk away from any motorcycle accident,” says Michael. Both Michael and his wife wore helmets and protective riding gear and although his wife was discharged from Meritus Medical Center the day of the accident, Michael spent the next 11 days in Hagerstown, 80 miles from his home.

Trauma care

Trauma centers must be continuously prepared to treat life-threatening and disabling injuries caused by impact, injury or physical attack. Specialized medical services such as on-call trauma surgery, neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery greatly increase the survival rate of injured patients.

With damage to his right lung, Michael required a chest tube to draw out excess liquid and air. Trauma surgeon Marc Kross, M.D., performed the surgery to put Michael back together again.

For a week, Michael was connected to a ventilator to help fill his lungs with air and speed the recovery process. “I got to know Dr. Kross pretty well,” says Michael. “Every day, he would come into my room and talk to me. There’s no doubt in my mind, Dr. Kross loves what he does.”

Like family

Michael also became familiar with Meritus Medical Center’s third floor medical/surgical nursing staff. “I didn’t have a lot of visitors because I was far from home,” says Michael. “As the nurses tended to me, I found out bits and pieces of their lives. I felt like family.”

Dr. Kross and his team of nurses and respiratory therapists paid close attention to Michael. “I never had to push my call button,” says Michael. “The nurses were always there before I had to ask.” When Michael was discharged he felt as though he were leaving close friends.

Now back on his feet again, Michael has replaced motorcycling with kayaking. “It was a tough time, but I got through it because of the staff at Meritus Medical Center.”