Hudson Kane of Wellington says he wouldn’t be here today without the medical care he received at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies last year.
Hudson, then a senior at Poudre High School, had just left his friend’s house in Wellington, stopped at McDonald’s for a hot and spicy chicken sandwich, and jumped on the Interstate 25 frontage road on his way home. He started veering off the road and hit a cement culvert. His car flipped end over end, then rolled four times.
“Everything went black. I just remember my music turning off,” he said Monday after a ceremony announcing MCR is now designated as a Level 1 trauma center, able to treat the most severe and complex injuries.
Because he was on the frontage road, no one spotted the accident for nearly 15 minutes. He was found hanging out the door but trapped in his seat belt, which caused lack of oxygen that led to cardiac arrest and a stroke. His heart had stopped.
Paramedics performed CPR all the way to the hospital in Loveland, where doctors opened his chest and massaged his heart until it started beating.
Doctors believed, however, the stroke might leave him in a permanent vegetative state, said Tawni Kane, Hudson’s mom.
Today, after months at MCR, the Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital in Johnstown and Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver, Hudson is regaining his strength and mobility but looking forward to college.
If Kane had been airlifted to Denver rather than treated at MCR, Tawni doesn’t think her son would be home with her now.
Now MCR is the only Level 1 trauma center in Northern Colorado. UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Banner Health’s North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley are both Level 2 trauma centers.
MCR has been operating as a high-level trauma center for a couple years, MCR spokesperson Kelly Tracer said, but didn’t have the volume of trauma patients required by the state to push it to Level 1 status until now.
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The state Department of Public Health and Environment requires Level 1 trauma centers to have around-the-clock coverage by trauma surgeons and specialists in orthopedics, neurosurgery and anesthesiology, either in house or on call. The state also requires the hospital to provide trauma prevention and education.
In 2021, MCR treated 1,853 patients who met the criteria to be included on the trauma registry. That was more than double the 880 trauma patients treated at MCR when it opened in 2007.
“This highest level of trauma care means our most critically injured patients stay closer to home and their families can more easily stay or visit them,” said Dr. Warren Dorlac, MCR’s trauma medical director, in a statement.
The majority of cases involve blunt trauma injuries that are often the result of falls, motor vehicle crashes and pedestrians or bicyclists hit by vehicles. MCR also serves as a regional destination for patients referred from dozens of hospitals in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska.
MCR, which opened 15 years ago, has spent years building up to this trauma designation.
“It’s something you don’t realize you need until you need it,” Tawni Kane said. “They usually only do CPR for 20 minutes. That was literally every second.”