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Trauma Survivors Help With Healing: September 19, 2012

Their common bond is a shared experience: trauma survivor.

“December 8, 2010, I was in an accident,” says Jennifer Beeson, a trauma survivor.

“I fell asleep or lost control of my car going in excess of 100 miles an hour,” says Justin Woodbury, another trauma survivor.

“I flatlined twice, once was on the way to the hospital and once was after I was in the hospital,” says Dan Meyer, another trauma survivor.

Their first stop was the Trauma Center. Lee Memorial operates the only level two trauma center in Southwest Florida, covering a five county area; it’s built on teamwork.

“When there’s a trauma coming in there’s about eight or nine people that absolutely descend on these patients. Between the nurses and the respiratory techs and the x-ray techs and the emergency room physician and two registered nurses. It’s amazing. Everybody has a job to do,” says Dr. Nelayda Fonte, Lee Memorial Health System trauma surgeon.

They work to quickly stabilize patients and address their injuries. The process may include weeks in the hospital, followed by intense therapy. One consistency throughout is teamwork.

While the Trauma Center addresses physical needs, emotional and mental recovery starts here, too. Trauma social workers have put together a support network using survivors as mentors.

“Somebody gets injured like me in the future, the hospital’s going to call me up and I let them know what I went through, what they could expect. Give little bits of my experience, strength, and hope into what they’re going through,” says Woodbury.

“I have been speaking with one patient, for like three years. Just walking her through recovery. She'll ask is this normal, did you ever feel like this? How did you deal with this?” says Meyer.

In giving back, trauma survivors help each other and help themselves.

“I'm very thankful. That's why I started doing the work that I'm doing,” says Beeson.