The car crash that changed lives: A patient shares his recovery
Jordan Sanderlin, a 24-year-old Chesapeake resident who worked at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center in the Outer Banks for four years, never saw what hit his work truck.
He's been told that four cars were street racing and that one hit the work truck head on as he sat in the passenger seat.
"I woke up three days later at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital," he says. "The accident broke both of my arms, pelvis, left hip, both femurs, and my right foot. My right knee was shattered. I had rods and screws everywhere and didn't know."
Jordan had endured four surgeries in four consecutive days.
"I remember Dr. Myers talking to my parents in ICU at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and him asking me how I was doing," he says. "I had no idea who he was."
Dr. Myers, an orthopedic traumatologist with Sentara Orthopedic Trauma Specialists, the only trauma fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons in south Hampton Roads, had performed all of Jordan's surgeries to that point.
"My first priority, as with any critically ill trauma patient, is to address any injuries that are life threatening," Dr. Myers explains. "It is always a collaborative process with the trauma surgeons and their team members, the emergency department and the ICU team, the anesthesia providers and any other consultant services involved."
In Jordan's case, the trauma team made a critical diagnosis first, aggressively resuscitating him in the process as he was in hypovolemic shock. Then they safely transported him to the operating room to stabilize his most life-threatening injuries.
"We were able to utilize external fixation on his bilateral femur fractures as a means to quickly and temporarily stabilize his bilateral femur fractures, release the pressure on the right thigh for his evolving thigh compartment syndrome, and place splints on his other injuries, which were important, but not immediately life- threatening."
Another priority was meeting Jordan's family:
"It was important to be candid and honest," says Dr. Myers, "and also reassure them that we would do our best, and absolutely anything and everything in our power to help Jordan. I still vividly remember the conversation with his family outside of the ICU before we took him to the operating room."
Jordan stayed at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for three months. His total number of surgeries rose to seven, with all but one performed by Dr. Myers. He started physical therapy still in a wheelchair and has worked diligently for over a year to partially recover.
"I believe it'll take six to eight months more after my one-year crash anniversary to fully recover," he says. "But I can walk with a cane, and I can get in a pool and go fishing. Dr. Myers is the best I've ever seen. Besides saving my life, I'm also grateful to him for being so down to earth and for keeping me informed."
Five days a week for two hours each day Jordan completes work-hardening physical therapy, with heavy lifting and tread-mill walking. His job involves taking fish off boats, and he wants to get back to it as soon as possible.
"Jordan is a remarkable young man," says Dr. Myers. "He has already exceeded anyone's expectations. I give him and his family the credit for the hard work they have put into his recovery. To come through four consecutive days of multi- procedure, multi-hour surgery to address all of his injuries, and then to achieve this level of recovery to date, is truly remarkable."