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Broward Health celebrates trauma survivors and caregivers

On May 18, Broward Health recognized National Trauma Survivor Day by honoring the health system’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) partners, medical team, and trauma patients.

“Trauma is considered the leading cause of death in the country for people under the age of 45,” said Dr. Ivan Puente during the celebration evening at Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach. Dr. Puente is the Medical Director of Trauma and Critical Care at Broward Health Medical Center. “In traumatology, we talk about the golden hour. The first 60 minutes are essential for the survival of the trauma patient,” he said.

During the event, patients like Andres Perez-Molina, who was nearly paralyzed after a fall at his home in 2020, and Jessica Walisch, who was ejected from a vehicle on I-595 in 2016, shared their gratitude to the doctors, nurses and therapists who helped them recover from life-threatening injuries.

Walisch and Perez-Molina have survived serious accidents thanks to the quick response times, expertise and advanced care provided by EMS teams and Broward Health medical professionals who specialize in trauma care. Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North are designated Level I and Level II Trauma Centers respectively.

Walisch suffered a severe brain injury and does not remember much of his time at Broward Health Medical Center. What she remembers is the care she received. The hospital “is pretty much the reason I can stand here today and tell you about my story, the nurses and the social workers,” she said. Walisch, who works as a radiation therapist in Miami-Dade County, said, “I was amazingly able to do so much more than I thought I could, and it was all because of the care I received.

During the tribute, Perez-Molina described how he had to relearn how to walk and use a zipper.

“The most beneficial part of therapy had to be occupational,” he said. “I had leg injuries, I had arm injuries, so I had physical therapy. I never had to relearn how to type, draw, write, eat,” he said.

The therapists at Broward Health North “warned me that it was going to be very frustrating”. The seriousness of the work that needed to be done became clearer when Perez-Molina began practicing “the hand coordination and fine motor skills needed to use a zipper, shoe laces, or buttons – which I still bad,” he said. Perez-Molina credits occupational therapy with giving her “an excellent foundation” to enjoy the process while challenging herself to do new things.

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