Mike’s Story: Taking it One Day at a Time After Accident

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After Mike Cornwell sustained chest and brain injuries, his family takes life a day at a time.

Mike was walking in a crosswalk early one morning when he was struck by a semi truck.

He was rushed to the Miami Valley Hospital Trauma Center, where his wife, Lindy, first saw him as “a flood of people” worked with him.

“He had severe injuries to his chest wall. He had a gross chest wall deformity,” said Mark Anstadt, MD, vice chairman Department of Surgery, Wright State Physicians, Cardiothoracic Surgery.  “So his injuries were complicated by the fact that not only did he have bleeding, but his ribs were fractured in so many sites and his chest wall so distorted, that he had ribs that had gone into essentially his lung parenchyma, his lung tissue.”

Mbaga Walusimbi, MD, Trauma Surgery Center, Miami Valley Hospital, said a brain injury also was found through a CT scan. “We had suspicion for it because he could not remember exactly. He was talking but he could not member and tell us what happened,” Dr. Walusimbi said.

Mike, who was in the hospital three weeks, said he went home with medical equipment and “the will to get better.”

“Life is a Blessing”

“Life is a blessing. Every day is a blessing. We were high school sweethearts. The fact that I wake up with him every day is a blessing,” Lindy said.

“I get to see my grandson every day. We have another grandbaby due in December,” Mike said. “You know I’ll be here to see him or her. I’ll watch them, you know, grow up. I’m alive.”

“We see the commercials on TV about Miami Valley,” Lindy said. “I don’t know how much people pay attention to it, but it truly, truly is – it’s an awesome care center and I think that had he went anywhere else that he would be sitting here.”

Dr. Anstadt said it is a privilege to save someone’s life.

“You know we went into medical school, we went into our profession to help people and sometimes we forget about that privilege. And so, I would say the rewards for physicians are usually having an opportunity to benefit someone be it saving their life, making them better and at the same time the worst feeling is when they don’t do better, when they don’t have those outcomes,” he said. 

“And those are the things I think we probably remember more so, but I think it’s an opportunity. It’s a privilege and I think it’s wonderful to know you can, you have the skills and opportunity to do that. But it’s not usually just the individuals, it’s the team. So I didn’t save his life, I had the opportunity to participate in saving his life.”

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