May 18, 2021
Bradenton resident Leon Thomas survived a traumatic motorcycle accident on November 23, 2019, leaving him hospitalized with severe injuries for 47 days. After spending nearly a month on mechanical ventilation, undergoing multiple surgeries and acute rehab, he was discharged from the hospital. Thirty-seven days later, Leon suffered another traumatic motorcycle accident leaving him with serious injuries that included multiple skull fractures, bilateral lung contusions, and third-degree burns. “I am grateful,” says Mr. Thomas. “Because of the people at Blake Medical Center, I'm alive.”
On his way to get an oil change for his motorcycle, he was side-swiped at 26th Street and 7th Avenue in Bradenton. “I woke up in the hospital like a month or so later," said Leon. Due to the severity of his injuries from the first traumatic accident, Mr. Thomas was hospitalized for 47 days, with 35 of those days spent in the ICU and 29 days on mechanical ventilation. After his second traumatic accident, Leon was hospitalized for 26 days, with 10 of those days in the ICU and 4 days on mechanical ventilation. He also suffered 3rd-degree friction burns, which required multiple operating room visits for incision, debridement, and skin grafting.
Mr. Thomas attributes a key factor in the success of his rehabilitation to be the people that took care of him at Blake Medical Center. He explains that the genuine connection he made with his caregivers made a significant difference in his recovery. “They took the time to make a connection with me,” says Leon, “that helped motivate me to do the work that needed to be done to get better. You don't find that everywhere.” During his hospitalizations, Leon received care on multiple units within the hospital, including the Trauma Center, ER, ICU, operating room, step-down unit, acute rehab, burn, and plastics.
Having a Trauma Center close to home that provided the specialized care to treat his injuries, which included Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Cardiovascular, Trauma, Plastics, and Burn care, was very reassuring for Leon and his family. “If I would have had to go to another town to get the treatment I needed, it would have been a big expense for my family, and I would not have gotten to see them as much. It is difficult to go through something like this. My family being able to come and spend time with me while I was in the hospital was an important part of my recovery. Being hospitalized close to home throughout all of this brought a lot of comfort to my family too.”
Blake Medical Center's Verified Trauma Center is the only trauma center in Manatee County and Blake has one of only six Burn Centers in Florida. One distinction between a hospital with a trauma center and one without a trauma center is that trauma centers have 24-hour availability of a trauma care team. “Our specialized teams of caregivers throughout the hospital from trauma, ER, the operating room, ICU, acute rehab to plastics & burn celebrate his recovery,” says Ralph Barker, MD, Medical Director of the Trauma Center at Blake Medical Center. “It has been our privilege to provide life-saving and life-improving care for Mr. Thomas."