Trauma Patient and Daughter Grateful for Hospital’s Care
As Pamela Price prepared to leave University of Louisville Hospital, she was carefully removing dozens of get-well cards, most of them featuring dogs; that festooned the walls of her hospital room. The cards were from caring customers, all hoping for a speedy recovery for their favorite dog groomer.
More than a week earlier, Memorial Day of 2011, had started out as a perfectly ordinary day for Pamela Price. The New Albany mother and grandmother was enjoying her holiday and headed home from a friend’s house on the highway around 6:30 p.m. when, in a flash, her world turned completely upside down.
Pamela had passed a driver going in the slow lane and moved her car back over without giving it a second thought. But the other driver reacted erratically and intentionally stopped suddenly in front of her and caused her to lose control, flipping her SUV off the road.
“It all happened so fast,” Pamela said. “It was unreal.” Her horrifying last memory of the incident was that she remembers waking up on the ground and “I saw part of my arm was gone, “she recalled.
In fact, Pamela was seriously injured and was fortunate that a local nurse had been behind her on the highway and witnessed the accident. She was able to render aid immediately; and another Good Samaritan had an iced cooler in his truck and was able to transport her arm until she could make it to University of Louisville Hospital.
She said she was very grateful for the hospital being there to take care of her not only to save her life, but to pay for her trauma care as well because as a self-employed business owner, she could never afford her own health insurance.
Pamela’s daughter, Stephanie Benningfield, and her two grandchildren, Olivia and Vincent, were by her side as her extensive injuries were treated including her arm re-attachment surgery, removal of a kidney and treatment for her foot and a lacerated liver.
“I’ll never forget when they told me they were airlifting Mom to University. It’s like time just stopped for a second.” But Stephanie was also thankful to University Hospital for their exceptional care of her mother’s injuries.
"There was a whole team of people taking great care of her,” Stephanie said. "Including all the nurses in intensive care and her amazing surgeon," she added.
“One OR nurse came in at 3:00 a.m. while Mom was having her arm re-attachment surgery and said she would be getting off her shift at 7:00 a.m., but she made a point of coming in before she left,” Stephanie recalls. “She told us in all her years in the OR she had never seen anything like that surgery; that what they did for my Mom was remarkable. I breathed a sigh of relief at that point because I figured as an OR nurse she had pretty much seen it all.”
Stephanie was also appreciative for the kind way her family was treated during her Mom’s surgery and hospital stay.
“I really have to commend the hospital for its family-friendly policies. It wasn’t like this a few years ago, but now the grandkids were allowed and encouraged to see their grandma. It helped them understand and reassure them that she was okay. And for mom, it was vital to her recovery to have her family around her; she really needed that. Families need to be able to see one another.”
Although doctors were able to re-attach Pamela’s severed arm, she will continue to need months and possibly years of physical therapy. Again, University of Louisville Hospital stepped up to assist to help Pamela connect with another provider for transitional care.
Many staff members including occupational therapist Meredith Bosley were instrumental in working many hours with Pamela’s case to get her placed with a Southern Indiana Rehab facility that would take her without insurance while Pamela has pending Medicaid benefits.
With the proper therapy in place, doctors are optimistic that Pamela will regain at least partial use of her arm. She does still suffer from vision issues and other lingering effects from the accident and unfortunately was forced to sell her beloved dog grooming business.
The authorities are still searching for the man responsible for causing her auto accident.
But Pamela said she is doing everything she can to remain positive after such a traumatic and life-changing experience. “All this is insignificant compared to being able to see my grandchildren grow up. I am so lucky to be alive.”
The day she was released from the hospital, her daughter wheeled her out past the main doors into the light of a day where the wind was picking up and a storm was brewing.
But Pamela looked serene as she closed her eyes and felt the wind on her face outside the main hospital doors. “This wind feels really good, doesn’t it?” she asked. “I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel it again.”