Trauma: When life takes an unexpected turn

Community Regional Medical Center is one of only 13 Level 1 trauma centers in California. Injuries caused by falls comprise the largest number of the more than 2,600 trauma patients the hospital treated last fiscal year. Michael Turner was one of them.

Michael Turner is back to the mountain
biking he loves, thanks to Community Regional’s trauma and emergency medicine staff.

A mountain biking accident thrust a tree branch into Turner’s neck, threatening his life as it pressed against the carotid artery at the base of his skull.

“Because of the injury Michael had, timeliness was really important to do this operation safely,” said Dr. Jerry Moore, part of a team of medical specialists who quickly assembled at Community Regional Medical Center.

Led by Dr. Brien Tonkinson, a military veteran with extensive combat surgical experience, the team performed a delicate eight-hour surgery to successfully remove the branch.

 

“The surgery he performed on me was just miraculous and just unbelievable,” said Turner, 28, who continues his recovery – and is back on his bicycle.

Studies have shown that access to Level 1 trauma care, like that provided at Community Regional, not only significantly increases a severely injured person’s likelihood of survival, but also improves the likelihood of a good recovery.

Community Regional Medical Center is one of only 13 Level 1 trauma centers in California. Serving a 15,000-square-mile region, Community’s Level 1 trauma center has specialists in brain, trauma and other surgeries at the ready 24/7. Injuries caused by falls comprise the largest number of the more than 2,600 trauma patients the hospital treated last fiscal year. Michael Turner was one of them.

Mary Lisa Russell reported this story. Reach her at MedWatchToday@CommunityMedical.org.