215 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
Join us for the Fire & Ice Masquerade Gala and Silent Auction to Benefit The Velmahos Trauma Research Fund. Wine Tasting, Dancing & Open Bar! Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased online here.
The Girl Who Lived
On September 19, 2009 at approximately 1 o’clock in the morning, I was riding home in the back seat of an extended cab pick-up truck after a Red Sox game, when a drunk driver ran a stop sign at 80 mph and T-boned the truck I was in. I did not have a seat belt on. The impact sent me face-first through the side mini window, where I was then dragged by the truck I was in and eventually impaled between the truck and the foundation of the building we collided into. I was gutted at the scene, intubated on the scene, prepped for surgery on the med-flight, and taken immediately into trauma surgery for 13 hours upon landing on the roof of the Massachusetts General Hospital (“MGH”). I had hundreds of tiny stitches in my face, 3 cracked ribs, 14 fractures in my pelvis, one sprained ankle w/more stitches, and a brand new stomach made of infant bovine tissue!
Some say it’s a miracle that I am alive. I say it’s a miracle that I had Boston first responders and Dr. George Velmahos!
Agonizing. Re-thinking what actually what happened that night.
My life was saved by literally every member of the trauma team first responder process! After the marathon bombings of 2013, no one in Boston undervalues the sophistication of our first responders and trauma care units. It’s an awful lesson to learn but damn am I grateful! It’s surreal to think that if my car accident had happened closer to almost any other city, I probably wouldn’t be alive today.
I don’t remember any of it.
I remember the ICU. I remember waking up on the Michael Jackson drug strapped to the bed and freaking out because I didn’t know why.
I remember the hours of being in agony.
I remember the emotional horror I first felt when finally seeing my reflection in the mirror following the accident. I looked liked I’d been mauled by a cat across my face and my previously long hair hacked to my chin (it was actually a cute haircut. I have some fantastic people in my life, hairstylists included!). Still the shock. I didn’t look like me.
It was a long haul, with numerous ups and downs and the support of some amazing people, but slowly but surely my body started to recover. I tiptoed through a year in an abdominal binder and debilitating pain medications, and by year 2 I was slowly easing myself back into participating in a full range of activities and life again.
This September 2013 it will be four (4) years since the accident and I am happy to say that I’ve gotten back to my life 100%! I still continuously manage a fair amount of neck pain and back pain, but not an incapacitating amount and I’ve learned the holistic and physical routines that mitigate it.
Trauma is a crazy thing! Cancer, mental health, heart disease, there are a lot of life-threatening ailments that claim thousands of lives every year prematurely and every year we fight to raise money for them. The leading cause of death however for individuals in their early to middle ages is trauma, and it is also the most underfunded! Numerous trauma units across the country are still staffed by resident “moonlighters” and are struggling to fund and prepare for the unique and emergent circumstances that surround trauma as a medical specialty. Still, trauma “continues to claim lives regardless of age, race, gender or social status. Nearly 3,500 adults and 2,000 children die globally every day due to trauma.”
It’s strange, but most days I used to try and just try and forget it ever happened. Except now I’m learning, that that isn’t the best way to cope either. It DID happen. I am lucky to be alive. Correct that, I am a miracle case…. the Girl Who Lived! I was lucky enough to be med-flighted to the largest Level 1 Trauma Unit in the entire country, Trauma at MGH! Dr. Velmahos, my surgeon, and Chief of Trauma at MGH, later explained to me that not only was trauma the primary cause of death in young adults and children but that unfortunately most trauma patients died of internal bleeding within a few hours of the traumatic accident, often times due to lack of education and resources for Trauma!
Now we can’t all live within Med-flight distance of Dr. Velmahos, but amazingly he’s now also discovered a way to broaden his reach! In addition to leading the largest trauma unit, Dr. Velmahos, has also led a team of researchers to develop a new “smart” technology intended for use by paramedics to slow the rate of internal bleeding and keep patients alive longer at the accident scene. $500,000 and 5-6 years is all he needs to launch this technology and save potentially thousands of lives!
Every day is a risk. Everyday there is an element of the unknown that regardless of your type A personality, you can’t control. Trust me I’ve tried. What Dr. Velmahos and his team at MGH have done for me is give me a certain peace of mind. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that although we are all, regardless of race or gender, status or religion, susceptible to a traumatic accident at any given time, we can feel the hope and influence of the MGH Trauma team when it happens. Please help me and Dr. Velmahos to spread this peace of mind across the world.
Every little bit helps. Please make all donations to the Velmahos Trauma Research Fund at MGH.
This initiative is a registered Mass General Community Fundraiser. Mass General does not enter into direct sponsorship of this effort, provide any financial support, or assume any liability for its conduct. If you have any questions, please contact the Mass General Community Fundraising Team.