The University of Kansas Health System offered the nearest Level I Trauma Center
as verified by the American College of Surgeons. Richard's extensive injuries would demand the expertise of the most skilled multidisciplinary team.
A thorough evaluation identified substantial damage. Both of Richard's occipital condyles – the bony protrusions that connect the skull to the vertebrae – were broken. His nose and jaw were broken. His sternum was crushed. Most of his ribs were broken, as were both femurs – the large bones of the legs – and his left tibia and fibula, the lower leg bones. He had a crushed ankle and broken toes. He had a pseudoaneurysm in the left carotid artery and an injury to the small bowel.
"I became involved in Richard's care as the ICU attending physician," says trauma and critical care surgeon Stepheny Berry, MD
. "He had become septic overnight and had free fluid in his abdomen, suggesting a small bowel injury that required emergency surgery. My colleagues and I took care of him in a multidisciplinary team approach essential to a positive outcome. We offer the subspecialty coverage necessary to care for the most critically injured patients."
"Our role in orthopedics is to stabilize any injury that is not life-threatening until such a time as it is safe to take the patient back to the operating room," adds orthopedic surgeon John Sojka, MD
. "Here, we work intimately with numerous subspecialty service providers, such as trauma and interventional radiology experts, to preserve life and limb. Together, we prioritize and address the needs of patients like Richard who have experienced complex polytrauma and collaborate to promote recovery and healing."
Richard received numerous surgeries. He spent 6 weeks in the surgical ICU and remembers little about the experience. His son and daughter arrived from the coasts, and they and his wife took turns staying with him, ensuring he was never alone.