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Nearly A Decade of Gratitude: Sullivan Family Appreciates Lifesaving Care at Baystate Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Center

“Is this a bad dream?” thirteen-year-old Bob Sullivan asked his parents. It wasn’t.   The Sullivan Family

The accident had happened so fast that they literally didn’t know what hit them.  

June 13, 2006. A hot summer afternoon. Nancy Sullivan, her four children securely belted into their Dodge Caravan, was second in line at a green light when a drunk driver crashed into them at high speed and kept going.   The Caravan was totaled.  

“We  were  two  minutes from  home,” Nancy remembers. “It was unbelievable.”  

A Life-Changing Experience

Nancy’s husband, Patrick Sullivan, arrived at the accident scene within minutes. He rode in one ambulance with Bob and his twin sister, Meghan, both still unconscious, en route to Baystate Medical Center. Nancy rode in the other ambulance with 10-year-old Molly and 11-year-old Mary Kate.  

Nancy was severely bruised. Mary Kate, the only member of the family who was able to get out of the car without assistance, was also badly bruised – as well as deeply shaken by the sight of her family unconscious in the wreckage. Molly needed 8 staples to close a gash on her head. Meghan and Bob, who had been extricated from the vehicle with the Jaws of Life, spent two days at Baystate Medical Center recovering from concussions, damage to the adrenal gland, and other injuries.  

“Everyone at Baystate was so kind,” Nancy remembers. “The kids were so scared, and they took such good care of us.”

The experience made an indelible impression on the Sullivan family. Meghan and Molly were inspired to become nurses. Meghan, who recently graduated from Elms College, is working on Baystate Medical Center’s Wesson 1 Labor and Delivery Unit. Molly is following in her sister’s footsteps as a second-year nursing student at Elms, and is working on Wesson 3. Bob, a recent Springfield College graduate, works in the health system’s IT Department.  

The Sullivan sisters recently ran the Walter Childs Marathon in Holyoke with Team Griffin’s Friends, helping to raise funds for Baystate Children’s Hospital. It’s amazing how a very bad experience can lead to so many good things,” says Nancy.  

“We feel very fortunate that Baystate Medical Center is here to serve the Springfield community and the region,” says Patrick Sullivan, who serves as Springfield’s Executive Director of Parks, Buildings, and Recreation Management.

“It was reassuring to me, as my family was being treated, to personally witness the most advanced equipment that is available to diagnose internal injuries. Everyone had been diagnosed and treated within an hour of arrival and there was a sense of relief to know exactly the extent of the injuries. Our family will always be grateful that Baystate is there for us – and everyone in the region.”  

The Best of the Best

“Our Level 1 Trauma Center gives members of our community the comfort of knowing that they will be treated by the best of the best,” says Dr. Ronald Gross, chief of Trauma, Acute Care Surgery & Surgical Critical Care at Baystate Medical Center. “Our trauma team is technically superb, and every individual is in it for one simple reason: to take care of people.”  

“None of us is immune to getting hurt,” Gross continues. “If you drive, walk, or breathe, you are at risk for injury. Whether you crash your car or fall off the monkey bars, the data shows that your chances for recovery are greater if you are treated at a hospital with more experience in treating trauma.”  

Gross has been a trauma surgeon since 1982. His experience spans service with the first forward Surgical Team to go into Iraq in 2003, as well as decades of civilian practice – the last seven years at Baystate Medical Center. He leads a team of surgeons who offer similar depth of experience.  

“It is extraordinary to look at someone who was about to draw their last breath and is now walking out of the hospital, and know that you had something to do with that,” Gross says. “It shapes our lives. It’s who we are.”  

Multidisciplinary Excellence

Baystate Medical Center’s trauma team works all over the hospital – from the Harold Grinspoon and Diane Troderman Emergency & Trauma Center to the Sadowsky Family Pediatric Emergency Department, to the hospital’s operating suites and Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU). The surgeons consult with colleagues in virtually every other specialty and subspecialty, from emergency medicine to pulmonary medicine.  

“To be certified by the American College of Surgeons as a Level 1 Trauma Center, we must demonstrate the breadth, depth, and multidisciplinary excellence to provide everything that an injured patient might need,” Gross explains. “This designation ensures that everyone – our intensivists, our cardiac surgeons and all of our other specialists, as well as our nurses – are at the top of their game. It makes us a superb tertiary referral center for all patients, not only those in need of trauma care.”

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