As a Regional One Health Foundation board member, Trey Carter helps support lifesaving care for the entire Mid-South – but he never imagined he’d need that care himself.
Trey severely broke his leg and hand in an accident and was rushed to the Elvis Presley Trauma Center. After 31 days of care and physical therapy, he relearned how to walk and regained use of his hand.
Today, Trey is back to work and looks forward to resuming his active lifestyle. He also continues to give back to Regional One Health and encourages others to do the same.
When Trey Carter joined the Regional One Health Foundation board in 2019, he was aware of the hospital’s crucial role in the community. His mother had been a patient the year before, and he learned about the health system’s services from friends and colleagues.
Still, he had no way of knowing that in the summer of 2021, his appreciation for Regional One Health would become even more personal.
On a warm June morning, Trey was riding a moped in downtown Memphis when a pickup truck struck him while traveling through an intersection on Jefferson Avenue.
“I knew I was hurt, but to what degree, I wasn’t sure. When I tried to get up, something wasn’t right, so I just stayed in a sitting position,” he said.
As it turns out, Trey had a severely broken left femur and hand. An ambulance transported him from the scene to the Elvis Presley Trauma Center. He’ll forever feel fortunate that the elite care of the region’s level-1 trauma center was less than a mile from where his accident occurred.
Doctors performed surgery on Trey’s broken leg and hand. “They let me know right away they could fix what was broken, and I was thankful for that,” he said. “I thought, ‘Just relax, stay prayerful, and things will get better.’”
“When I got to the trauma center, a lot happened real quick – x-rays, scans, IVs. The doctors and nurses were doing everything they could to identify what was wrong and to take care of me,” he said. “They determined my leg and hand required surgery, and they got me into the operating room quickly. The doctors let me know right away they could fix what was broken, and I was thankful for that. I thought, ‘Just relax, stay prayerful, and things will get better.’”
It was just the start of what would be a 31-day stay at Regional One Health. Trey spent time in the trauma ICU, acute care unit, and Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital. Due to the severity of his leg injury, he had to relearn how to walk, going from wheelchair to walker to his own two feet. The injuries to his hand required occupational therapy to restore mobility and strength.
Through it all, he was impressed by the medical care and kindness he received.
He praises a long list of providers for their knowledge and skill, always delivered with a human touch. Trey says the long hospital stay was bearable thanks to visits from his Foundation colleagues and others.
“It was a trying time, but I am forever grateful for the work the doctors and nurses and my entire care team did. In the end, I was able to come home. They gave me a second shot at life.”
And he’s living it to the fullest.
“This added to what we all experienced from the pandemic – you learn life is precious, and that you can be with someone today and never know what could happen tomorrow or next week,” he said. “This was the same lesson, just relearned closer to home.”
A native Memphian and second-generation entrepreneur, Trey operates a vocational school that offers training in logistics and transportation. Before the accident, he lived an active lifestyle: regular workouts, pickup basketball games, and running in local 5K races – all of which he intends to resume as he works his way through outpatient rehab.
Trey also thrives on being engaged in his community, volunteering for a variety of projects, and serving on several boards along with Regional One Health Foundation.
Trey credits his medical and therapy team with helping him regain his independence. “I’m walking, and I’m able to work, I’m able to be social again, I’m able to live on my own,” he said. “Without their care from the moment I entered those double doors at the trauma center to now, who knows how I’d be.”
Now, he says his experience of being a patient at the health care system he supports reinforced the importance of giving back.
Regional One Health Foundation supports services throughout the hospital, with donations supporting training, equipment, technology, staff support, and more. Donor support has an immediate, direct impact on our ability to provide lifesaving care to patients throughout the Mid-South.
For Trey, it meant the critical care he needed was immediately available.
“I was in the best place I could be after having a traumatic accident, and it gave me the best chance at a positive outcome,” he said. “There are going to be other people like myself who need the same type of help. I hope people understand when they contribute to Regional One Health, they can save a life. It’s literally about breathing new life into people.”
“It’s paramount that the hospital receives support because there are so many people who need it. Without it, our community would be in tough shape.”
It’s a realization Trey had on his first tour of Regional One Health back in 2018. He marveled at everything from the world-class trauma unit to the tiny babies in the NICU to the state-of-the-art burn center. He feels it even more deeply now as he continues his journey to recovery.
“I’m walking, and I’m able to work, I’m able to be social again, I’m able to live on my own,” he said. “That’s a compliment to the doctors and nurses and support staff. Without their care from the moment I entered those double doors at the trauma center to now, who knows how I’d be.”