The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center celebrates the heroes who come together to provide lifesaving care to critically injured patients

Event Highlights Extraordinary Partnership Between Trauma Professionals and First Responders in Maryland

BALTIMORE (September 10, 2022) – The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) will host its 32nd annual Shock Trauma Heroes celebration tonight, honoring more than 40 trauma professionals and first responders who worked together to save the life of a 51-year-old former highway construction worker whose legs were crushed when he was hit by a car on I-95 and pinned against his truck. He nearly bled to death from his wounds.

The theme for the celebration is “Come Together”, the title of a well-known Beatles song, which also highlights the extraordinary working relationship between Shock Trauma and its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) partners that has makes Maryland a unique and highly coordinated trauma system. a national model. It also acknowledges the philanthropic support that enables Shock Trauma to continue to make significant advances in trauma care and to remain one of the leading trauma centers in the world.

Shock Trauma is Maryland’s highest trauma center – a primary adult resource center, or PARC, where clinicians treat nearly 6,000 critically ill and critically injured patients annually with a 96% survival rate.

“One of my greatest privileges over the past 25 years is to have the opportunity to work alongside our amazing trauma care teams and remarkable partners within Maryland’s EMS system,” said Thomas M. Scalea, MD, the Honorable Francis X. Kelly Distinguished Professor of Trauma Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and Chief Medical Officer of Shock Trauma. “Every day, these brave men and women take on unique and complex challenges. They do so without hesitation and sometimes even risking their own health and well-being to save the lives of others.” Dr. Scalea is also the System Chief of Critical Care Services for the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) comprised of 11 hospitals.

The event, which will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, will also celebrate Dr. Scalea’s 25 years of service to Shock Trauma. Dr. Scalea first took charge of the world-renowned trauma center and trauma program at UMSOM on January 4, 1997. The Beatles theme pays homage to Dr. Scalea, a longtime fan of the band of British rock.

Proceeds from this year’s celebration will benefit Shock Trauma’s trauma prevention and recovery programs. These programs include Stop the Bleed training and educating adults and teens about risky behaviors such as impaired driving and distracted driving. Next year’s focus is on improving capacity to provide widespread Stop the Bleed training across the state of Maryland. Donations to the program can be made through the UMMS Foundation.

“Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has put on our ability to run many of our programs, we continued to run 104 events that reached over 6,200 people last year. Education is key to reduce preventable injuries in Maryland and beyond,” said Kristie Snedeker, DPT, vice president of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

Those attending tonight’s celebration will hear the extraordinary story of Amilcar Mendez, of Beltsville, who was seriously injured on February 15, 2020, while working on a construction project on the northbound lanes of the I-95 near Perryville. He was hit by a car and “sandwiched” between the car and his truck, nearly amputating his legs. Within three minutes of the 911 call, Maryland State Police troopers from the JFK Highway Barracks arrived on the scene. Using their Stop the Bleed training, they applied tourniquets to help stop the bleeding in Mendez’s legs and stabilized him before a Maryland State Police medical evacuation helicopter does not transport him to Shock Trauma.

bleed to death

“Mr. Mendez was one of the sickest and most injured people I have ever seen when he arrived at Shock Trauma,” recalled Margaret H. Lauerman, MD, assistant professor of surgery at UMSOM. and attending surgeon at the trauma center. . Dr Scalea added: “He lost a huge amount of blood from his legs. So with the combination of his abdominal bleeding, his pelvic bleeding and his extremity bleeding, he had basically bled to death when he arrived. here.”

Mendez received a massive blood transfusion with over 40 units of red blood cells, plasma and platelets. In addition to his leg injuries, he had fractures to his pelvis, ribs and back, as well as colon injuries and a tear in the ureter leading from a kidney to his bladder. Using mesh, doctors reconstructed his abdominal wall. Surgeons were unable to save Mendez’s legs, which were later amputated above the knee. He underwent 12 surgeries in 25 days.

When Mendez woke up in hospital after the crash, he was emotionally overwhelmed at first, but then thought of his family. “I started to think there was a reason why God gave me a second chance,” he said.

After spending 50 days in Shock Trauma, Mendez was transferred in April 2020 to the University of Maryland Institute of Rehabilitation and Orthopedics, where he received therapy until his discharge two months later, the June 16. A married father of three children, ages 14, 10 and 9, Mendez is able to walk again with the aid of prostheses.

“We went to the gym, we started exercising and they were so nice to me. I can’t explain it, but they changed my mentality,” Mendez said.

Melita M. Theyagaraj, MD, assistant professor of neurology at UMSOM and medical director of the multi-trauma unit at UM’s Institute of Rehabilitation and Orthopedics, said, “Even though he was scared of what was going to happen, what the future would be, how his family would view it, he always had such a positive attitude. And I think that was half the battle.”

“I’m happy to be here,” Mendez said, reflecting on his journey. “There are no words to say ‘Thank you’ for the job they have done. I feel comfortable. I feel good.”

Tyler Adams, a Cecil County paramedic who was at the scene of the crash, said, “Every agency involved really came together to save Mr. Mendez’s life.”

“A remarkable victory”

Dr. Scalea said he doesn’t know how many healthcare providers treated Mendez during his 50-day stay at Shock Trauma, “but if you told me it was a thousand, I wouldn’t be surprised.” . He called Mendez’s recovery a “remarkable victory.”

Forty-three heroes will be honored at tonight’s celebration, including Maryland State Police troopers, Cecil County EMS clinicians and the doctors, nurses and staff who treated Mendez. The celebration will also include “then and now” video updates on four former shock trauma patients and a video highlighting Dr. Scalea’s many accomplishments as a surgeon, physician-researcher, educator and mentor. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform a selection of Beatles songs. The program ends at 9:30 p.m., followed by an after-party that will continue until midnight.

Dr Scalea said of his milestone birthday: “When I look at what we have been able to accomplish over the past 25 years, I can truly say that we have changed the face of injury care around the world.”

He came to Maryland from New York, where he served as Chief of Critical Care and Trauma and founding Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Kings County Hospital/SUNY Brooklyn. “I planned to live and die in New York and didn’t really plan on moving to Baltimore,” he recalled. “But when I had the chance, I hesitated for zero seconds and said, ‘Yes’, because it’s Shock Trauma. It’s as good as it gets. When you do what I do, it’s the best job in the country, maybe in the world.”

About the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center

The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland was the first fully integrated trauma center in the world and today remains the epicenter of trauma research, patient care and teaching, both both nationally and internationally. Shock Trauma is where the concept of the “golden hour” of trauma originated and where many lifesaving practices in modern trauma medicine were initiated. Shock Trauma is also at the heart of Maryland’s unparalleled emergency medical service system. Learn more about impact trauma.

About the University of Maryland Medical Center

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) comprises two hospital campuses in Baltimore: the 800-bed flagship institution of the 11-hospital University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and the 200-bed UMMC Midtown Campus. Both campuses are academic medical centers for the education of physicians and health professionals and for the pursuit of research and innovation to improve health. UMMC’s downtown campus is a national and regional referral center for trauma, cancer care, neuroscience, advanced cardiovascular care, and women’s and children’s health, and has one of the nation’s largest solid organ transplant programs. All staff physicians on the downtown campus are clinical physicians from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The medical staff at UMMC Midtown Campus is primarily comprised of faculty physicians specializing in a wide range of medical and surgical subspecialties, adult and pediatric primary care, and behavioral health. UMMC Midtown has been a teaching hospital for 140 years and is located one mile from the downtown campus. For more information, visit


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