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Traumatic Injury Recovery: Jay Braithewaite’s Story

Traumatic Injury Recovery: Jay Braithewaite’s Story

Nine broken ribs, a punctured lung and a fractured collarbone. These are the injuries experienced by Jay Braithewaite, an employee for the Berryville Public Works Department, where in November 2020 he experienced a potentially life-altering fall.

“I really don’t remember anything about the accident other than waking up in the hospital. Evidently, I went up a moveable staircase and fell 12 feet off of the structure onto the concrete floor, landing on my right side. I remember briefly waking up in the ambulance, then the next thing I remember is being in the hospital.”

Because of the severity of his injuries, Braithewaite was taken to Winchester Medical Center (WMC) – a Level II Trauma Center.

In Emergency Medicine, a person with injuries from an accident, such as a motor vehicle accident, fall, or hiking, biking or ATV accident, is classified as a “trauma patient”. Winchester Medical Center routinely cares for patients with these types of injuries, but when they are combined with abnormally low blood pressure, respiratory failure and/or unconsciousness, a higher level of care is required… and the WMC Level II trauma team is activated.

Thanks to the Trauma Leadership Team, which works closely with trauma staff and first responders, a patient care plan was put into place as Braithewaite was en route to the hospital. His collaborative care team included general surgeon Terral Goode, MD, and orthopedic surgeon Andrew Brown, MD.

Braithewaite went into surgery for rib fracture stabilization at Winchester Medical Center, since his displaced ribs had punctured his lung. Shortly after, he experienced atrial fibrillation requiring Cardiology care. He was in the hospital for 14 days, with a few of those days spent in the intensive care unit.

Providers on the Trauma team oversee care for patients like Braithewaite during their entire inpatient stay. They collaborate with any specialists, such as orthopedists, neurologists or pulmonologists, who may be called in to treat and manage targeted injuries. This comprehensive, team-based approach ensures that every patient receives high-quality care by Valley Health’s experts.

photo of braithewaite

“The [team was] very kind and considerate of my injuries. They checked on me many times throughout my journey toward healing. I just can’t say enough about Dr. Goode, his office, and the way they put me back together. I’m very thankful.”

Valley Health’s expert care continues after patients are discharged. Braithewaite began physical therapy and occupational therapy twice per week after he headed home.

“The physical therapists (PT) gave me the confidence I needed to get moving again. Before I left, they showed me how to do exercises at home, which was a huge help. It pushed me to get up and do what I’ve learned instead of sitting around and not doing anything.”

Steadily, Braithewaite increased his amount of regular exercise and started preparing for a return to work. He credits physical and occupational therapists for his swift return to his job in January 2021.

“I really enjoy my work and schedule with Berryville Public Works. I wanted to be able to continue my work in water treatment and the care I’ve received through Valley Health has helped me return to everything I was doing before without a problem.”

Back to work and normal life, Braithewaite has another goal on his list he hopes to complete once public visitation is allowed at his local fire department.

“I want to go catch up with the two guys who transported me to Winchester Medical Center. I know from my work as a former firefighter that a lot of times they don’t hear the final outcome of the patients they transport. I want to thank them for the important role they played in my treatment and healing.”

Braithewaite is one of numerous success stories from the Trauma Acute Care Surgery program. The Trauma Acute Care Surgery program at Winchester Medical Center consists of a team of surgeons and other providers who care for patients requiring urgent trauma and surgical needs. Having a team of Advanced Practice Clinicians on hand shortens the time for a surgeon to see you. A qualified surgeon is available 24 hours a day, so surgery is not delayed when there is an urgent medical need.

Trauma Acute Care Surgery also means shorter stays in the hospital with a team of providers coordinating your care. The team will also schedule follow-up appointments upon discharge.

Learn more about Level II Trauma Care at Winchester Medical Center by visiting valleyhealthlink.com/winchester-medical-center/our-services/emergency-services/