News 'Double Dose' of Expert Trauma Care Saves Man's Life

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AUSTIN, Texas - (April 3, 2013) -Teamwork and a touch of the miraculous came together for Brandon McCord, 23-year-old Burnet resident and victim of a violent car crash.

First responders called the collision a perfect t-bone. But, of course, there was nothing perfect about it.

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"All I remember was pulling out of my driveway and noticing it was really foggy," recalled Brandon.

On Nov. 2, three blocks from his house, a car ran a red light and crashed directly into Brandon on the driver's side. His car was twisted beyond recognition. After finding Brandon with no pulse, the Burnet EMS worked quickly to resuscitate him.

Back at home, Brandon's mother Sandra was receiving word about her son from policemen at her door. She described the moment as a mother's worst nightmare. "You just can't imagine. Brandon is such a good-hearted, optimistic kid."

It was too foggy for air transport, so Brandon was rushed by ambulance to the trauma center at Seton Williamson.

"Brandon had two life-threatening injuries. CT scans showed a brain injury and abdominal bleeding from a ruptured spleen," explained Dr. Drue N. Ware, Seton Williamson trauma director, an attending surgeon when Brandon arrived.

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Dr. Ware immediately called Dr. Glenn Harper, Seton Brain and Spine Institute neurosurgeon, who arrived within five minutes. Both doctors decided it was best to operate simultaneously to improve Brandon's odds for recovery. Thanks to steady teamwork, Dr. Ware removed Brandon's spleen while Dr. Harper removed a section of Brandon's skull to relieve pressure on his brain.

"We have confidence in each other and our abilities, and we've got good communication with the entire trauma team," said Dr. Ware. "We just did our job."

"In my 20 years [as a physician], I may have had one other time where two surgeries were done at once," added Dr. Harper.

In Brandon's case, saving time meant greater potential for his brain to heal. And his progress astounded everyone.

"Within three days he was following commands - in four days he was talking - and in seven days he was heading home," said Dr. Harper. "That's credit to EMS and the team here at Seton."

Brandon had surgery the day after Christmas to replace the piece of skull that had been removed. In June he expects to be cleared to resume skateboarding, "of course with a helmet," he added with a grin.

"You know, I could have had life-long problems, but I don't," said Brandon, now back at work as a landscaper. "You can thank the surgeons, the ambulance folks, thank God, but it's hard to put into words. There really are no words for it."

His mom Sandra found these words: "This place is what it is because of the wonderful people here and the support it has from the community. We are eternally grateful."

Click here to see Brandon's story on KVUE-TV.

Republished from The Beacon - a Seton Williamson Foundation publication.

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