In our last post, we were following the path of a victim of a severe motorcycle accident here in Columbia, as he arrived at the trauma center.

That he is alive today is due in part because he arrived in the operating room of a Level 1 trauma center within 12.5 minutes. His Trauma Injury Severity Score (TRISS), which measures a trauma victim’s likelihood of survival, gave him a 4.5 percent chance of surviving the accident.

His trauma team was waiting when he arrived at the hospital. The team is made up of doctors, nurses, technicians and other specialists, who were all focused on saving his life.

Two surgeons began simultaneous operations. The work that needed to be done was breathtaking. According to the Daily Tribune, his doctor “removed Irwin’s right kidney, a section of his small bowel, his right colon and repaired the injury to the veins behind his liver and the vein that carries blood from the lower body to the heart.”

They had to control the bleeding in his nearly severed right leg and he was sent to radiology and for CT scans. He required additional blood transfusions, totaling 100 units, during his multiple surgeries. He returned to the operating room for additional surgeries from trauma, neurologic and orthopedic surgeons.

His primary surgeon noted that he needed “every single piece” of equipment in the trauma center. And this level of care is needed more than you may think, which requires the trauma team being placed on their highest level of alert about 400 times a year.

Car accidents, falls and other unintentional injuries are the source of 91 percent of the trauma centers work. The surgeon from the trauma center pointed out that driving is “probably the most dangerous thing we do every day.”

The aftermath of the accident and the injuries will last a long time. He may never walk again, but he hopes to eventually be able play with his kids and return to work, driving a snowplow. There is the financial struggle, and he has hired an attorney to help with his case.

He is enormously grateful to the team in the trauma center that saved his life. If he regains is ability to walk, it is unlikely his wife will ever let him back on a motorcycle. 

Source: Columbia Daily Tribune, “No small miracle: Hero snowplow driver reflects on his own brush with death,” Jodie Jackson Jr., August 10, 2014