16 - Frontiers
hen John Sharp woke up the
morning of February 21,
2012, it was an ordinary day.
Little did he know that by afternoon his
life would hang in the balance, resting
in the capable hands of highly trained
emergency and trauma professionals at
The University of Tennessee Medical
John left work not feeling well. He
passed out while driving and hit a
concrete utility pole going 78 miles per
hour. His car hit the pole with such
force it split in half. The severity of
John’s injuries should have killed him
on impact. He was pinned in his vehicle
By Bonnie Horner
One Man’s Story of Survival
and was removed by the Knoxville
Fire Department and Rural Metro
Emergency Medical Services (EMS),
whose personnel arrived three minutes
after dispatch time. It was apparent John
suffered from massive chest trauma as
well as multiple orthopedic injuries. The
multi-agency response and teamwork
employed multi-system shock and
trauma protocol guidelines which were
critical first steps in John’s survival.
John was transported to the region’s only
trauma team immediately began working
to save his life. In retrospect, if one little
thing had been different, one step a little
bit slower, one decision made differently,
John might not be alive today.
John was fortunate to have lived to
reach the Emergency Department.
The CT scan confirmed John’s critical
condition including a life-threatening
atrial tear. As his CT image displayed on
the screen, he went into cardiac arrest.
The emergency and trauma team sprang
into action to drain the blood away from
his heart, quickly place a chest tube and
rush him to the operating room.
“Nowhere in their job
description does it say
to truly care for patients
like they cared for John
and our family. They
went far beyond their
everyday duties and truly
gave ‘patient care’ a new
meaning for our family.”
— Gae Sharp
Defeating the Odds
John Sharp and his wife, Gae, visit the
medical center to pay tribute to the
healthcare professionals who saved his life.
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