“Here’s a story,” says Jamie Hunter. “A girl is climbing Mount Adams. A boulder the size of a refrigerator flies out of nowhere and smashes her. Many incredibly brave people get her to Emanuel Hospital within five hours of the accident, using an Army helicopter. On arrival she is judged a hopeless case. Her body temperature is 80.6 degrees and her lungs have collapsed. She is not breathing. Her heart is trying to pump but there is no blood left to pump. She’s lost it all. At 2:10 p.m. her heart quits. The monitor goes flat-line. She is dead; the ‘golden hour’ for saving a life, as trauma workers call it, is passed.
“Her doctor tries CPR. No go. He cracks her chest open and does open-heart massage. Her heart starts up again. In the next three hours she receives more than a hundred units of blood. At one point there are forty people in the operating room working to save her life.
“They save her life.
“That girl is me.
“A year later after an incredible amount of work on the part of many people I am back at the University.
I walk with a limp and there are about two months there I’ll never remember, the months where I was in a coma. But a team of medical professionals at Emanuel saved my life. In a lot of ways there were miracles. In a lot of ways the accident was an awful blow for me and in a lot of ways it was a gift. Now I spend as much time as I can helping out at hospitals, and I think I’m going to try to craft a career helping to tell their crucial story — how so many people of such talents work together to save people. As a society we have no idea how hard and crucial that work is, how well it’s done, how many miracles happen.
“But I know.”