Trauma Survivors Share Their Stories at Memorial Regional and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospitals Annual Trauma Survivors Day

May 24, 2024

Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospitals’ Level 1 Trauma Center welcomed back over thirty trauma survivors to reunite with clinicians, hospital staff, and EMS providers and first responders who helped save their lives. The event, held during National Trauma Awareness Month, celebrated trauma survivors and their lifelong journey.

Peter Powers, CEO of Memorial Regional Hospital, who serves on the Florida Trauma System Advisory Council, opened the event with words of encouragement to caregivers and patients alike.

“I want to extend my deepest gratitude as we celebrate the exceptional contributions all of you make.”

This year’s national awareness theme is ‘Injury Prevention is Everyone’s Responsibility.’ Keynote speaker Dean Hertzler, MD, chief of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Program at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, was on the beach with his three children the night he heard gunshots. Instead of running away, he acted and helped a gunshot wound victim by applying 'Stop the Bleed' techniques.

“Being mentally prepared is the first step; take the knowledge you have and use it,” said Dr. Hertzler.

Other speakers included Megan Hobson, who was treated at Memorial after suffering a gunshot wound at the age of 16. Twelve years later, Ms. Hobson is a gun violence and patient advocate, using her experiences to support other trauma survivors.

Megan with EMS team at trauma reunion in May 2024

Megan Bishop was also in attendance, and she shared her story. Ms. Bishop lost her four-year-old son, Taylor, in an tragic crash where her car was struck by a single engine plane. To honor her son, Ms. Bishop created Taylor’s Teddy Bears, a nonprofit foundation that provides first responders with teddy bears that can be given to children during callouts.

“The work that people do throughout our trauma system and in this trauma center has a very tangible impact as shown by today’s event,” said Andrew Rosenthal, MD, medical director of Trauma Services at Memorial Healthcare System.

Memorial Regional Hospital has served the South Florida community as a Level 1 Trauma Center for over 25 years and as a trauma center for 33 years. Since opening its doors in 1991, the System has treated more than 56,000 adults and 7,400 pediatric patients.

The Memorial Trauma team promote year-round safety campaigns to equip members of the local community with essential skills for handling trauma scenarios effectively. These campaigns, such as CPR and AED training, provide individuals with the knowledge and confidence to intervene in life-threatening situations. Additionally, the team supports the nationwide 'Stop the Bleed' campaign, which educates and prepares bystanders to respond to traumatic injuries promptly.

Memorial Healthcare System plans to launch a firearm safety campaign in the coming months. This initiative aims to foster safe gun ownership practices through open dialogue and education. By encouraging responsible firearm handling and storage, the campaign seeks to mitigate the risk of firearm injuries and promote community safety.