Spring man credits new trauma center with saving his life after crash
A Spring man who was on the brink of death after a serious car crash is thanking his survival on the care he received within minutes at an upgraded trauma center at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center.
Caleb Trahan was so seriously injured after crashing his car into a light pole during the wee hours of May 14 last year that a passerby who stopped to help and a responding paramedic thought he was dead.
After hitting the pole on FM 1488 in Magnolia, Trahan says he was partially ejected from his car and was “halfway through the windshield.”
“It took then 47 minutes to cut me out,” he recounted.
But then, according to Trahan, it took only seven minutes to be taken by ambulance to Memorial Hermann.
The hospital recently announced it has been verified as a Level II trauma center, an upgraded standard in trauma care that can mean the difference in life or death for a critically injured person who needs prompt care from highly qualified medical professionals.
It wasn’t too long ago that there were no Level II trauma centers in Montgomery County, meaning Trahan and others needing immediate medical care had to be driven by ambulance or flown by a helicopter to Houston. Conroe Regional Medical Center also offers Level II trauma care, with the medical center announcing its verification last March.
That extra time it previously took in getting the seriously injured the critical care they need-30 to 45 minutes, or even up to an hour-can be the difference between life or death.
In Trahan’s case, it likely helped him escape the grasp of the Grim Reaper.
“I was dead four times, almost died in the ER,” Trahan said, adding that a paramedic had declared that he was dead before he was even in the emergency room.
Trahan’s mother, Laurie Carlton, who teared up as her son recounted his tale of survival, interjected that even after keeping “him alive” doctors doubted her son would survive.
“They gave him less than a one percent chance of survival at the time,” she added.
Indeed, one of the doctors who treated Trahan, Timothy Hodges-who is also the trauma center’s medical director, said when Trahan was brought into the emergency room he was “actively dying.”
“At his time of arrival to the hospital, it was not expected that Caleb would survive,” Hodges said via email. “Once his injuries were identified and he was stabilized, his probability of survival was very slim.”
Trahan, who was sedated for several days after the crash and then hospitalized for nearly a month, suffered broken bones in his face, broken ribs, broken shoulder bones, a crushed leg, a lacerated liver and a long list of other injuries. He has since undergone nearly a dozen surgeries.
But now, even though it was feared the leg crushed in the crash would have to be amputated, Trahan can walk without a limp.
“They saved his leg,” his mother said.
With most of his ordeal behind him, Trahan, who is now 25, says his near-death experience has inspired him to pursue the same line of work that some of the people who helped save his life perform.
Trahan has attended school to become an emergency medical technician and is about to take the EMT certification test so he can help people just as he was helped, or saved, by a team of health care professionals.
“There’s a lot of people that I really can’t thank or repay them who were a part of everything,” Trahan said. “All I can figure is pay it forward and try to help someone else out.”