Rick doesn’t remember October 10, 2007, and he’s thankful for that today. On the way home from work on that fateful Wednesday afternoon, Rick’s vehicle was hit by a 110-car train, which forced his Dodge trailer half a mile down the unforgiving tracks before his car was wrenched free.
A few onlookers quickly called 911 knowing the damage to the driver inside the mangled truck would be extensive. When the EMT’s arrived, they knew instantly that Rick wouldn’t survive an ambulance ride to the hospital, so he was airlifted to the Elvis Presley Trauma Center at Regional Medical Center, a world-class facility and the only level-one trauma center within a 150-mile radius.
Rick was in a coma for the better part of a month. When he awoke, he learned that he had a fractured neck, collapsed lung and that his brain was bleeding in three different places. “Waking up was like being caught in a bad dream; only it wasn’t a dream,” Rick recalls today. Still, with all that he was going through, Rick remembers the hospital he spent so much time in. Rick found himself in the trauma center surrounded by a caring staff that worked around the clock to keep him stable.
Rick had a tube in his throat for weeks while in a coma and the doctors weren’t sure he would even be able to use his voice again. While the long-term effects of his accident were still uncertain, Rick was released into physical therapy just two days after waking up. Happily, he recovered well and quickly regained the use of his voice.
In the six months following his accident, Rick attended physical therapy at Regional One Health, where he went through the difficult process of relearning how to talk, walk, eat and dress himself. He even had to relearn how to read and write. “For a while after the accident, I had to use a walker,” he recounts. “My equilibrium was off, and I was forced to walk backwards up and down stairs to stop myself from pitching forward. I was determined to walk again without any type of assistance, though, and with the help of my physical therapy team at Regional One Health, I persevered. I didn’t realize how dramatic the extent of my injuries was until I had to relearn even the most basic actions.”
These days, Rick is back on his feet and living his life to the fullest. He knows he owes his future to the talented physicians and nurses at the Elvis Presley Trauma Center. “Regional Medical Center is one great hospital that I would recommend to anybody,” Rick explains. “The staff is extremely friendly and supportive.” When asked what he would tell those about to enter the Elvis Presley Trauma Center, he says without hesitation, “They have nothing to worry about because the doctors know what they’re doing, and they will fight to ensure a good outcome for you. It’s one great place!”