Patient Stories: Incredible recovery after traumatic injuries
How do you move forward against tough odds? Ask William Sibley and his family. In 2022, Sibley was struck by a car while crossing the street and suffered severe traumatic injuries, including a brain injury, multiple skull fractures, a collapsed lung, a compound fracture to his tibia and more. He spent more than two weeks in a medically-induced coma, and almost a full month at Prisma Health Richland Hospital.
But that isn’t where his story ends.
In this video, Sibley, his family and Chief of Acute Care Surgery Dr. Chris Watson discuss Sibley’s traumatic injuries, his recovery and how the trauma team at Richland Hospital’s Level I Trauma Center made the difference between life and death.
“The drive down was bad,” said Dean Sibley, William Sibley’s father. “I was preparing myself for the absolute worst, that we were going to be here to say goodbye.”
Dr. Watson noted significant chest wall injuries, including collapsed lungs that led to air seeping into the chest cavity and putting pressure on his organs from the inside. When that air began to put pressure on Sibley’s heart, causing a very rare, life-threatening medical condition called tension pneumopericardium, the situation seemed increasingly grim.
“Most of the people who have this problem, where this type of air gets around the organ, you find out about it later, after they’re dead,” said Dean Sibley. “I give Dr. Watson and the entire trauma team so much credit for just being totally honest with us. ‘We’ve never done one of these.’ You do a procedure you’ve never done before, you don’t know people who’ve done it and you execute it perfectly the first time … that’s awfully good.”
Richland Hospital’s Trauma Center is the only Level I Trauma Center in the Midlands, handling a variety of emergency situations involving injuries and illness. Sibley’s trauma care team came together for the surgery, his ongoing recovery and they were there to greet him with excitement when he returned to see the hospital where his life was saved.
William Sibley had to relearn basic skills as a result of his severe injuries, and he credits the support of his family – and the expertise and compassion of the Richland Hospital Trauma Team – for his incredible recovery.
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