Traumatic Injury

Brian and his wife

Summertime evokes simple pleasures like sipping lemonade, walking barefoot, catching fireflies and enjoying long, lazy days outdoors. With the rising temperatures also comes an increased risk of certain emergencies that occur more often during the summer.

Seasonal activities bring seasonal injuries. Bicycle and motorcycle accidents are more frequent, as are skateboarding injuries and farming accidents.

No matter the season, treatment at an accredited trauma center by a multidisciplinary team of trauma specialists can make the difference between life or death, permanent injury or a full recovery. This fact was driven home to the Zern family of Central PA.

A Worksite Injury

Brian Zern, a construction superintendent, was at a job site in Lancaster County, when without warning, workers carrying an industrial-sized sheet of drywall 25 feet above him lost their grip. The drywall fell vertically, hitting Brian in his left shoulder and knocking him to the ground with the impact of 800 pounds.

Brian did not lose consciousness but felt a tremendous wave of pain go through his body. Doctors later explained that he suffered a compression trauma — an initial shock, followed by waves of impact throughout the body. Brian was transported by ambulance to Lancaster General Hospital.

“When I arrived at the emergency department, Brian’s doctors had completed an initial evaluation, stabilized his neck and transported him to a neuro trauma unit,” said his wife, Lynette. “They directed me to his room, where a team of doctors and nurses were working on him like a well-oiled machine. Everyone had something to do and they were never in each other’s way. It was amazing.”

Brian spent a total of three-and-a-half days in the hospital. During that time, his medical team included specialists from the trauma team, cardiologists, orthopedic surgeons and a neurosurgeon.

“As a superintendent, I know what it takes to coordinate a group and to organize multiple tasks. I was impressed by the team’s ability to pull together all the necessary players and to move things along in such a well-coordinated way,” he said.

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