Brevard Trauma Survivors, Lifesaving Medical Teams Reunite At Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center
By Space Coast Daily // May 20, 2023
Holmes Regional Medical Center offers 24/7 trauma care and rapid patient transport via First Flight
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center hosted an emotional, inspirational, and celebratory reunion event Wednesday for numerous trauma survivors and their loved ones – and the teams that saved their lives.
Survivors, including a gunshot victim, a high-speed motorcycle crash victim, and a couple involved in a horrific vehicle crash – landing one in the hospital for over 110 days – were among those packing the Holmes Regional Heart Center’s atrium as they were reunited with surgeons and clinical teams, as well as EMS responders and First Flight air ambulance representatives.
“I feel very excited. An enormous sense of pride for everything that we do here as a trauma center,” said Health First Trauma Surgeon Tony Dunne.
“I think the turnout was pretty special, especially considering that this is the first one that we’ve ever hosted here. We had many trauma patients show up to celebrate their own survival and the many people – EMS, first responders, their loved ones, our trauma team, that all had a hand in their recovery. This gathering is a true testament to what goes on here, what our teams do every day.
“We’re the only trauma center in Brevard County – a 24/7 service, 365 days a year. And, you know, I mean, I think today is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everybody from the trauma center for everything that they do here,” Dunne continued.
Edgar Perez was involved in a high-speed motorcycle accident on Sept. 9, 2022, losing a leg in the injury but saving his life. The young father of two recalls very little from the accident that day, but he credits his survival to the fast response of EMS and the Holmes Regional trauma team.
“I’ve been doing a lot better. I started walking again on November 28 when I got my (prosthetic) leg. I’ve been doing this (extensive rehabilitation) for my kids. Just trying my hardest. The first thing I asked for when I woke up, I remember my kids gave me some juice.”
“I thank these doctors and nurses for everything. Everything. And the ambulance crew and the helicopter crew that helped me that day. I thank them all. Without them, my kids would have been fatherless. How good is it for the families here to see everybody? It’s great to see everybody. It’s great. You know, it’s something that you don’t look at life like. You gotta look at it (life) differently now,” Perez continued.
Viera resident Mark Stapleton, along with his wife, Eileen, and another passenger, was driving on Hwy. 1 last year when another vehicle lost control at a high rate of speed and crashed into them.
Stapleton required multiple surgeries to save his life, including 17 liters of blood – ultimately spending over 100 days in a hospital, most at Holmes Regional Medical Center. The couple also attended the event, and Mark had an inspiring message to everyone in attendance.
“This is just amazing. Amazing crew here. Trauma surgeons. You’ve got the nurses, the CNS, pulmonary therapists, everybody. Just amazing. They don’t give up on you – they didn’t give up on me,” said Stapleton.
“You know, they could have given up on me. A lot of them, I’m pretty sure, didn’t think I was going to make it. They could have said, you know, ‘that’s it.’ But they didn’t.
“Most survivors don’t come back to say thank you or to update the care teams on how they’re doing. And I think that’s really important for the nurses, especially, who really gave their sweat and tears for us. This is a really special moment and opportunity for us all. It’s nice to be able to come back and hug them and say thank you for, you know, for really caring. They’re really invested in their patients,” said Stapleton.
Wednesday, May 17, also marked National Trauma Survivors Day. The campaign seeks to draw inspiration from and provide support to survivors of traumatic injuries and their caregivers, opening the road to their recovery from trauma – encouraging all those who support and inspire these survivors and their loved ones.
In 2022, Health First’s trauma surgeons, advanced practice providers, and countless rehabilitation and respiratory therapists with the Holmes Regional Trauma Center provided multidisciplinary, round-the-clock care for more than 1,600 patients.
As the only state-accredited Level II trauma center in Brevard and Indian River Counties, Holmes Regional Medical Center offers 24/7 trauma care and rapid patient transport via First Flight, and Health First’s air ambulance.