Radical surgery helps saves man's life after car accident

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by Jim Bergamo / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 4, 2013 at 8:15 PM

AUSTIN, Texas - It was an extraordinary recovery. A young man, who was nearly killed in a car crash, walks out of the hospital a week later.

He was so badly hurt that doctors performed surgery on his brain and his abdomen at the same time.

“It’s amazing,” Brandon McCord, the accident victim, said. You can’t blame the 23-year-old McCord, of Burnet, for being amazed. He sits in the emergency room at Seton Medical Center Williamson just two months after what could have been a life-ending accident shortly before Christmas.

“The only thing I remember is pulling out of our house and noticing that it was really foggy,” McCord said.

He spent the next several hours in a different fog—a coma—the result of another driver running a red light and crashing into him just three blocks from his house. He suffered two life-threatening injuries—bleeding on the brain and damage to his spleen. Dr. Drue Ware recalls driving into work that morning.

“As I pulled on to Highway 29, I was able to see the ambulance carrying Brandon behind me,” Ware said.

Ware—a trauma surgeon—and neurosurgeon, Dr. Glenn Harper, quickly realized their dilemma. v“If you allow somebody’s blood pressure to get too low and get into shock from bleeding it will exacerbate or make the brain injury worse,” Ware said.

“Most often we have to wait for one surgery to complete and then do the other and we have to prioritize which we are going to do, but the downside of that is you are losing valuable time,” Harper said.

So they decided they both would operate — at the same time.

“I think you know in my 20 years I may have had one other episode where I had done that,” Harper said.

“By stopping the bleeding, the abnormal bleeding in the abdomen, as well as taking the pressure off the brain, we maximized the potential of brain recovery,” Ware said.

“I could have lifelong problems from this and I don’t,” McCord said.

McCord’s recovery was so remarkably fast that just six days after his surgery doctors deemed he didn’t need any rehab and he was free to go home.

McCord and his family were reunited recently with the surgeons and the medical team that saved his life.

“You can thank the surgeons. You can thank the ambulance people. You can thank God, but you know, there are just no words for it,” McCord said.

Doctors and staff at Seton Medical Center Williamson may have one word for it — teamwork.

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