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Julia’s Story

Complete care, from onset of injury to rehabilitation, meant peace of mind for Julia Snowden.   Julia was carpooling with a co-worker to their jobs in Kettering when, in an instant, everything changed. Her co-worker was driving as they headed northbound on I-75. “All of a sudden, something wasn’t right,” Julia recalls. “His hands were on the wheel, but I knew something medically was wrong with him. I took my seat belt off to help him. I leaned forward to try to get his foot off the accelerator.”   Because she soon lost consciousness, Julia is foggy about what happened next. She does remember the car scraping a guard rail and then plunging into the rest area. “Witnesses reported that our car hit a truck, flipped in the air, hit another vehicle, then landed upside down,” she said. Julia later learned that her co-worker had passed away from a medical condition that occurred while driving.

Fearing the Unknown

 Julia was taken to the Emergency Trauma Center (ETC) at Atrium Medical Center. She doesn’t remember her arrival or her time in the ETC; in fact, she doesn’t remember anything until she later woke in Intensive Care. But her husband remembers—and it was a nightmare for him. Brian Snowden, PhD, an assistant professor, received a call that his wife had been in a car accident. “The state police told me Julia had non life-threatening injuries. But on my way to the hospital, along I-75, I passed the scene of the accident and saw the car sitting on its top, half destroyed,” Dr. Snowden said. “I didn’t know what to think at that point.” When Dr. Snowden arrived at the ETC, he was relieved to see Julia and the excellent care she was receiving. “Because Atrium is a Level III Trauma Center, we’re prepared for patients like Julia who present with multiple injuries,” said David Kabithe, MD. “Patients are stabilized and triaged right away. Initial testing and imaging are done in a quick fashion to determine their injuries and begin treatment.” Julia’s injuries were extensive: six broken ribs; multiple fractures in her spine, clavicle, and scapula; a rotator cuff tear; multiple bruises and facial cuts—all on her right side as a result of being between the seat and the dashboard as she was trying to help the driver. But, all these injuries could be handled at Atrium.

 The Right Care for Patient and Family

“I couldn’t ask for anything better than the treatment Julia received at Atrium,” Dr. Snowden said. “In the Emergency Trauma Center, they took such good care of her and kept me informed. She needed surgery later that day and, again, I felt informed about everything going on.” Julia continued to be monitored in Intensive Care, then in a regular patient room. “I can say that everyone cared about my comfort and well-being, 24/7,” she said. “The doctors and nurses were wonderful!” She also has high praise for the therapists who helped her recover during her stay in Atrium’s Rehabilitation Center . “I appreciated that everything I needed was provided right at Atrium,” she said. “Our community benefits from the fact that often our most critically-injured trauma patients are able to remain at Atrium, from the onset of injury to inpatient care, then to our Rehabilitation Center,” said Jennifer Brown, RN, trauma program manager. “That makes it easier for the patient and the patient’s family.” With a smile, Dr. Snowden recalls that while Julia was at Atrium, he would mistakenly say to his kids that he was going to the “hotel” to visit their mother. “I used the word ‘hotel’ more than once probably because Atrium is so beautiful and her room was so comfortable and attractive,” he said. Julia, grandmother of three, retired after her accident. “I was thinking about it anyway, and needing to recover was the excuse I needed,” she said. “I’m doing well.”

Atrium Celebrates 10 Years as Level III Trauma Center

This year marks Atrium Medical Center’s tenth year as a verified Level III Trauma Center designated by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. There are 38 adult trauma centers, ranging from Level I to Level III. The difference between levels is based on the depth of resources to treat trauma patients with multi-system injuries. “Twenty-four hours a day, Atrium provides rapid assessment, resuscitation, treatment, and ongoing care for patients with multi-system injuries,” said Jennifer Brown, RN. “The prompt availability of trauma surgeons, orthopedists and anesthesiologists is a key element in our level of care.”

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