On April 12, 2007, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine was nearly killed in an automobile accident in which he was not wearing his seat belt. He was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital in Camden with multi-systemic injuries. Both legs were injured and his left femur was fractured in two places, including an open fracture with bone piercing the skin. He sustained chest and lung injuries, with fractures of his collar bone, sternum, and 6 ribs on each side. A lower back vertebra was fractured and he sustained a cut on his forehead. He had lost a significant amount of blood and arrived in critical condition.
He remained in the hospital for 18 days during which time he underwent three surgeries. For more than a week of that time, he was intubated/mechanically ventilated and receiving tube feedings. That care was provided by the
nurses in the Trauma ICU.
After his discharge from the hospital, Governor Corzine made a public service announcement with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to encourage the use of seat belts. Noting that he was lucky to be alive, the Governor stated, "It took a remarkable team of doctors and a series of miracles to save my life when all I needed was a seat belt."
A remarkable team of doctors and a series of miracles? Who kept him breathing for the time he was on a ventilator? Who kept that artificial airway patent? Who monitored for complications? Who titrated his drips, measured his urine output, administered his medications, responded to alarms, and obtained his vital signs? Who was the 24/7 presence carefully watching for complications and monitoring his condition?
Exactly 7 years from the date of Governor Corzine’s accident, on April 12, 2014, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell was also seriously injured in a head-on collision. He was air-lifted to Manhattan’s Hospital for Special Surgery with a shattered hip and serious soft tissue injuries. He also underwent surgery and an extensive hospital stay, followed by rehabilitation and convalescence. When he returned to the air, he began his show with a 16 minute tribute to
all of those who had helped him survive the experience. When speaking of the nurses and describing our work, he asked his audience, "When have you ever saved a life?!"
Mr. O’Donnell thanked the medics, the philanthropic donors to the hospital, the station’s management, his colleagues, and, in a particularly moving manner, his
nurses. A remarkable team of doctors and series of miracles are not enough. You need
nurses. Here is a link to the clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=003MPF2-vdk. Thank you Mr. O’Donnell. That’s how it’s done.