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Trauma Survivors’ Living Proof

Patients, families and trauma care IMG_9667teams pay tribute to recovery

Patients who’ve survived trauma injuries came together to celebrate their success with the University Medical Center Brackenridge (UMCB) trauma care team that led their way through treatment and recovery at the third annual Trauma Survivors Celebration.

Held on Wednesday, May 18, the celebration included 10 former patients who brought friends and family together to be reunited with doctors, nurses and other caretakers who championed the patients and held their hands through what many of the patients referred to as their darkest hours.

“I am happy to be alive, but I can’t separate the pain from my survival. Every time I look at my scars or I go to physical therapy or someone asks how I am or about the accident, I am distinctly reminded of everything it took for me to be OK today,” Chris Timmons, a survivor, reflected. “The whole thing has been the hardest thing in life I’ve ever faced,” said Timmons.

“We were ready, we were waiting for you.”

Timmons smiled alongside one of his treating physicians, trauma surgeon Pedro Teixeira, MD. The doctor addressed the attendees about what it means to him to be a trauma surgeon.

“All of a sudden, your dreams were interrupted that night. Your plans were put on hold when you suffered the accident. But we were here, we were ready, we were waiting for you,” Teixeria said. “I didn’t know you when you came into the doors of Brackenridge, but I had been preparing for that moment for the past 20 years. The doors are open, and we are waiting for you,” he told the group.

Teixeira and his UMCB colleagues, led by trauma chief Carlos Brown, MD, serve at the only adult level I trauma center in all of Central Texas. UMCB is in the top 1 percent of all level I trauma centers in the U.S. for best patient outcomes.

Since 2009, UMCB has provided level I trauma services to 11 counties in the region, with a population of 2.1 million. Of more than 70,000 emergency patients seen at UMCB in 2015, over 3,100 of them were admitted for trauma.

DSC00476christann small subtitledIn May 2017, patients at UMCB will be transferred to Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, the new 211-bed facility which will serve as the primary teaching hospital for the university’s Dell Medical School.

Leaving a legacy of survival

Survivors, alongside their family and care teams, posed for photos after participating in a “Living Proof” ceremony at the celebration. During the ceremony, each survivor signed and left a thumbprint impression on a framed image to hang in the new teaching hospital’s trauma department.

“Each of you here are living proof of the strength and determination you have within you to survive,” said Christann Vasquez, president of UMCB and Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.

UMCB emergency department colleague Tina Stocker, RN, trauma nurse tina stockerreceived the Trauma Nurse Excellence Award for her tireless devotion to the emotional and physical wellbeing of her patients.