Being brought to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital was the best thing that could have happened to him, according to Richard Wise, who almost lost his life following a terrible accident on Interstate 5 in July 2016.
Wise was on his way from his home in Sacramento to visit his daughters Paula Wise and Shelley Padilla, son-in-law Tony Padilla and grandchildren, Austin and Mackenzie, in Long Beach, when his vehicle slammed into a stalled vehicle on I-5. The impact was so intense that it took emergency responders 30 minutes to extract him from his vehicle. He was transported by helicopter to Henry Mayo's Emergency Department (ED) with severe, life-threatening injuries. The doctors and nurses who treated him called his survival and recovery a miracle.
Wise, 78, suffered multiple injuries including cranial bleeding, compound fractures to both arms, an L4 fracture, six broken ribs and crushed bones in his face, foot and hand. He underwent two tracheotomies and several surgeries including full facial reconstruction along with his jaw being wired shut. A feeding tube moved nourishment directly to his stomach. Wise spent three weeks in the Intensive Care Unit and one week in the Definitive Observation Unit before he was transported by ambulance to Long Beach Memorial for three weeks of intense rehabilitation.
"When I was brought into the ED, I was told they thought I may not make it," Wise said. "They told me that I'm a miracle."
"I'm so grateful for the treatment I received at Henry Mayo from everyone--from the doctors who operated on me to the nurses who treated me to the people who cleaned my room. My treatment was far beyond anything I would have ever imagined," he said.
Wise has nothing but praise for Dr. Ranbir Singh, Director of Trauma Services who oversaw his treatment, Dr. Sum Tran, the plastic surgeon who performed his reconstructive surgery, and Dr. Tarek Bittar his orthopedic surgeon, and pulmonologist Dr. Charanjit Saroa.
"I don't remember everyone's name at Henry Mayo, but everybody who took care of me was great," Wise said. “Every person who dealt with me was wonderful. They treated me and my family with respect, dignity and kindness. It was obvious they really cared and made my time there a wonderful experience."
Wise calls his recovery remarkable. Within seven weeks of the accident when he moved in with his daughter and son-in-law, he was able to alleviate the need for his walker. He then used a cane for three weeks and by October the wires in his jaw had been removed, he had begun outpatient physical therapy and was doing fine. Wise, an insurance broker, is currently working to form a new venture in Long Beach where he now resides.
"Despite my injuries, I never felt any pain while I was at Henry Mayo," he said. "My recovery has been truly remarkable," he said. "Friends I've known for years couldn't see any evidence of my injuries. They said I looked and acted like nothing had happened. I have enormous gratitude for the staff at Henry Mayo. They saved my life."