Washington, DC, USA
On August 4, 2001, Scott Shields, an avid runner and golfer, was a healthy, active 32-year-old when his life forever changed.
Hit by a car when walking across a road, paramedics at the scene found Scott unconscious and not breathing with life-threatening injuries, including multiple vertebral fractures along his spine; fractures throughout his body; a flail chest; pulmonary contusions and hypovolemic shock. Scott was airlifted to a Level I trauma center where he remained for approximately two months.
The trauma surgeons and emergency team who treated Scott thought he would be lucky to survive, much less make the remarkable recovery that he did. Today, Scott trains in Krav Maga, an intense form of martial arts, and can break boards with his hands. But he still has chronic health issues as a result of spending weeks in traction.
While in the hospital, Scott developed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) on the inside of his left thigh, immediately prompting his medical team to stop physical therapy. The surgeons injected medicine into Scott’s thigh to help break up the clot. The medical team closely monitored Scott’s condition for several days.
After ensuring the clot had dissolved, Scott continued therapy and was soon released to a rehabilitation hospital where he continued treatment. Nearly 60 percent of cases related to blood clots are associated with a recent hospital stay.
After his recovery, Scott dedicated himself to advocating on behalf of other trauma survivors. He volunteers with the American Trauma Society (ATS) and co-founded the organization’s Trauma Survivor Network, a national support service for trauma victims and their families.
However, ten years after the accident, like others who have experienced DVT, Scott suffered another blood clot. According to a 2007 study, up to 25 percent of people who have had a DVT or Pulmonary Embolism will have a recurrence within five years of their initial diagnosis.
Scott considers his recovery as nothing short of miraculous and says he is glad to have his life back. That said, he knows he must carefully manage his health. Scott now takes a daily anticoagulant and could be on anticoagulants for the rest of his life. He also watches his diet and is under the care of a hematologist to monitor his condition.