Crozer Regional Trauma Center: A Testimonial
(Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of articles focusing on the Crozer Regional Trauma Center in celebration of the Center’s 25th anniversary)
August 7, 2005. 1:40 a.m. For Chris Weersing of Thornton, Delaware County, this was the exact time life changed forever.
It all began just minutes earlier at a graduation party when, after seeing a friend leave on foot, the now 27-year old hopped in his truck to chase him down and offer him a ride. Despite Chris good intentions, the idea wasn’t a smart one considering the amount of alcohol he had consumed that day. It was a decision that would prove almost fatal just a short time later.
After locating and dropping off his friend and in a neighborhood only ¼ mile from his own house, Chris, driving at an unsafe speed, failed to properly navigate a turn and veered off the road, slamming into a tree at 45 mph. Unable to apply the brakes and not wearing a seat belt, the injuries were numerous and severe: fractures in his neck, clavicle and scapula, a chip out of his hip bond and brain trauma.
The next thing Chris remembers is being in a rehabilitation center with his head and neck surrounded by a protected Halo-type brace he’d wear for 16 weeks. What he didn’t realize, but would soon learn, as that he had spent the previous three weeks in Crozer-Chester Medical Center’s Shock Trauma Unit, including 10 days in a coma.
Today, many months of rehabilitation and six years since the accident, Chris reflects back on it with a better understanding of just how lucky he was to survive.
“Without Crozer, that golden hour (the time period in which the lives of a majority of critically injured trauma patients can be saved if definitive surgical intervention is provided) would have been lost,” he says, referring to the fact that the Crozer Regional Trauma Center is Delaware County’s only trauma center. “The quick response by the EMS Unit (Concordville Fire and Protective Association) and Crozer’s trauma team saved my life. I made a bad choice that night. But I saw my recovery as a sign that I was meant to do something; that everything happens for a reason. So instead of repeating my bad choices, I decided to focus on more important things.”
It was a defining moment that would eventually lead Chris to start visiting area schools and youth organizations to speak about the dangers of drunk driving, something he continues to this day.
Now approaching the anniversary of his accident, Chris, a mental health case manager, is still has no memories of the crash. He only recalls arriving at the party earlier that nigth. One thing that he hasn’t forgotten, however, is the group of Trauma Center doctors and nurses who helped save his life that night.
“I’ve tried to go back once a year to thank the trauma team that treated me. Having a Trauma Center in the area gave my family the ability to be close to me while I was in a coma and gave me a second chance at life,” he says.
For more information about the Crozer Regional Trauma Center, visit http://ckhstrauma.crozerkeystone.org.