It was the phone call we all dread: a loved one has been terribly injured hundreds of miles away and is on an operating table fighting for his life.
It was Halloween 2013 when the phone rang at the Smith home in Ohio. Spencer, 22, had been hit while driving to get candy for the Detroit school where he taught. Pulled from his car, he was rushed to the Trauma Center at Botsford Hospital unconscious and seriously injured: broken bones and ribs, shattered spleen, crushed pelvis and swollen and bleeding brain.
As Spencer’s parents headed north to be with him, Botsford doctors worked feverishly to save his life. They removed his spleen, inflated a collapsed lung, and drilled a small hole in his skull to drain fluids from his brain cavity, relieve the pressure and better monitor brain functions.
"I thought he had a poor chance of surviving," said Dr. Boyd Richards, a Botsford neurosurgeon. "And even with survival, I thought he could be in a nursing home the rest of his life."
The next morning Spencer was in the intensive care unit (ICU) still unconscious and breathing with the help of a ventilator.
“I have absolutely no memory of the accident or the events that followed,” he wrote six months later in a blog on Botsford’s website. Relying on what his family later told him, he wrote, “I want to thank everyone at Botsford, including my doctors, nurses and therapists. Each individual nurse was the right nurse at the right time in my recovery.” He continued, “I want to thank the many medical residents who played a vital role” and named the six doctors he credited with saving his life.
"Everyone we came in contact with at Botsford was so supportive,"says Spencer’s mother, Teri. “It was like having your family there."
Dr. Richards was pleased, but not surprised, to hear that sentiment. He had heard it before.
“The small, intimate size of Botsford really gives you an advantage in these situations,” Dr. Richards says. “We are familiar with each other and work well together. I think that makes a big difference in overall outcomes.”
Six months after the accident, and after demanding therapies, Spencer had completely recovered. He is writing a book because “I want people to know that it’s possible to recover from something like this,” he says.
That same fall, a young mother received a phone call that her
5-month-old son, Cameron, was at Botsford Hospital fighting for
"It's a day he'll never remember, and a day I'll never forget," said Adrienne Herrick of
the day her young son was rushed to Botsford Hospital from daycare. Cameron's pacifier had somehow become lodged in his throat and he was in critical condition. With every breath the baby took, the pacifier lodged even tighter in his little throat. He began to
turn gray, as his oxygen intake declined by more than 80%.
"It was the scariest case in my 10 years of practicing," said
Dr. Angel Chudler, who met the paramedics wheeling Cameron into the Botsford Hospital Emergency Department.
The doctors inserted a needle into his windpipe allowing him to breathe and determined the only option was to remove the pacifier surgically. He was rushed to the Operating Room where a team of doctors painstakingly removed the pacifier bit by bit.
It took hours to complete the surgery and stabilize his little body so he could be transferred to a children’s hospital for continued treatment. One year later, his family brought Cameron to Botsford to celebrate with the medical team that had saved his life. He had switched daycare, never used a pacifier again and is doing fine.
"Cameron and I will be forever grateful to the team of doctors and nurses who contributed to Cameron’s care that fateful evening!" says Adrienne. "My precious baby was saved by the wonderful, caring people at Botsford."
"I can never fully express my gratitude to the awesome professionals at Botsford that saved my grandson Cameron’s life," says his grandfather, Raymond. “Every ground ball he fields, every basket he scores and every ‘A’ he gets in school will be because of the incredible doctors and nurses at Botsford! I can never begin to thank you enough..."
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With your support, the next time anyone is rushed to Botsford needing emergency care,
we will respond again with the best staff, facilities and equipment.
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