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Trauma Team at LVH–Muhlenberg Saves Critical Crash Victim

Filip Vydra sustained injuries to most of his body systems

Many trauma patients who arrive at Lehigh Valley Health Network facilities are severely injured and require immediate, lifesaving care. But only one in a hundred are so badly hurt that they are designated as Code Omega: Unless they get to the operating room immediately, they will die.

When 19-year-old Filip Vydra arrived in the emergency room, it was clear to the trauma team at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg that he was a Code Omega patient.

“Lehigh Valley Hospital is the place to be if your life is in the hands of the medical professionals.” - Filip Vydra

Vydra was injured when his motorcycle slammed into the side of an SUV on Main Street in Stroudsburg. “His injuries affected most organ systems,” says trauma surgeon Kathryn Wheel, MD. He was flown to the hospital by the LVHN–MedEvac helicopter.

“He truly was critically ill,” Dr. Wheel says. He had a traumatic brain injury, spine fractures, a lacerated kidney, extensive pelvic fractures, internal bleeding and many broken bones.

A need for speed

Given how serious Vydra was on that Thursday night in March 2023, the trauma team had a whole lot to do and very little time to do it.

Every trauma starts with an ABC assessment to identify and take care of the most life-threatening injuries. A is for airway – there must be a clear path for air to reach the lungs. B is for breathing – can the patient take in enough oxygen to sustain vital organs? And C is for circulation – stop the bleeding and keep the blood flowing.

In the emergency room, with his airway, breathing and circulation issues addressed, Vydra was examined from head to toe. He received X-rays and a FAST scan (focused abdominal sonography in trauma), then he received a blood transfusion before being whisked to the operating room.

All of this took less than 30 minutes.

On the operating table, Dr. Wheel opened Vydra’s abdomen to search for the source of bleeding. Then an orthopedic surgeon stabilized the pelvic fractures. Vydra was taken to radiology for a scan to assess kidney damage, and then back to the operating room for additional surgeries to address his internal bleeding and other injuries.

A slow recovery at first

Vydra was unconscious for a long time. “His recovery was slow initially, with some setbacks,” Dr. Wheel says. It took him a while to wake up and to be weaned from the mechanical ventilator that was breathing for him.

Vydra talked recently about what happened. “I don’t remember any of it,” says the East Stroudsburg man. “I was just riding my motorcycle, going out for some food, and a car ran a stop sign. The next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital.”

Vydra says he is “mostly recovered” now, and he was even able to go back to work in a Walmart warehouse this past January.

Strong family support helps

Dr. Wheel says Vydra has a strong family support system, and that helped him greatly. His father was at his bedside constantly until his mother returned from overseas, and then she rarely left him. “She participated in a lot of his care and was a strong support for him,” Dr. Wheel says.

“Lehigh Valley Hospital is the place to be if your life is in the hands of the medical professionals,” Vydra says. “I am immensely grateful for all the care I received. They did a great job getting me back up and running!”

Trauma Care

You can expect high-level trauma care at Lehigh Valley Health Network's accredited trauma centers located in eastern Pennsylvania.

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