Santanna’s incredible journey4:20 p.m. 40024-year old Santanna and her mother-in-law had justfinished installing a set of holiday flower arrangements Santanna’s accidentat a client’s house. As they left they collided with another happened on a rural gravelcar. Though both vehicles were badly damaged, no one road – the 8th Concession.was seriously injured. Nobleton5:00 p.m. 404As they waited for the police to turn up, Santanna’shusband and her father-in-law arrived. Without warning, 49 kilometres on Ontario’s busiest Vaughananother car cleared the corner, slid on the ice and spun. highways tookIt was followed by a black truck that swerved to avoid 37 minutes. 400the car. It too struck the ice, hit Santanna and tossed herthrough the air. The truck then ran over her and draggedSantanna about four metres before it came to rest, with 401her buried in the snow under its rear wheels. 407Santanna recalls: “The last thing I remember is beingunderneath the truck and having Dan dig me out. He was Sunnybrook’s exceptional trauma team was waitingcrying and freaking out. I said, ‘I love you’, and ‘goodbye’,” for Santanna’s arrival.recalls Santanna. “I didn’t think I was going to make it.” Toronto5:12 p.m. 401Dr. Valerie Krym was outside, cleaning snow off thesteps of their house when her husband telephoned.He is the Medical Director at ORNGE, the transportmedical service provider for the province of Ontario, 6:03 p.m.and was on duty in ORNGE’s Communication Centre Santanna arrives at Sunnybrook. But her fight was far fromthat evening. He’d heard about the crash and called over, as told by Dr. Doreen Yee, the trauma team leaderhome to check on his wife. who directed Santanna’s care that night. Santanna’s injuries were so severe, the health care team didn’t think she wouldBy now it was dark. The ORNGE helicopter did not live. “The injuries were clearly horrific and life threatening.land at the scene because these landings are not safe to She’d lost more than half her blood.”do at night, and there wasn’t a nearby helipad or airportavailable. A land ambulance was dispatched and already Santanna’s heart stopped while she was in the CT scanner.en route to the scene. “When people’s hearts stop because of blood loss, it is not easy to get them back,” says Dr. Yee. The team did CPR and gaveDr. Krym, an emergency physician at Sunnybrook, Santanna epinephrine to keep her alive and rush her upwalked to the end of her long driveway. The crash scene to the OR. “I had an excellent trauma team that night, wewas a kilometre away and Dr. Krym’s car was in the shop, were a well-oiled machine,” she says. “Dr. Krym made a goodbut because there were so many emergency vehicles on decision to bring Santanna to Sunnybrook and not wastethe scene she decided to walk there. time going to one of the smaller hospitals that might not have had the resources to help her,” says Dr. Yee.5:18 p.m.Dr. Krym arrives and surveys Santanna’s injuries. Santanna’s pelvis was crushed. The doctors amputated herIt becomes apparent that Santanna’s life is hanging left leg above the knee and performed a through-the-kneeby a thread. amputation on her right leg. But she is alive.
Santanna’s hero: Dr. Valerie KrymDr. Valerie Krym, Emergency Staff Physician, Sunnybrook.“I’ve done this work for years and Santanna was the most criticalpatient that I’d ever seen in many years. The nursing staff atSunnybrook will tell you the same. This woman is alive today dueto a miraculous set of circumstances and excellent trauma care.”Santanna says:“With injuries like mine, you have to get to hospital within30 minutes. They were going to go to the local communityhospital, which doesn’t have a trauma centre but Dr. Krym saidfor the ambulance to go to right to Sunnybrook and she woulddeal with any other consequences.Thank God she did that and she had a trauma team there for meall set up and ready to go. In the ambulance, I kept asking herif I was going to die and she said ‘not on her watch’. She stayedand watched all the surgery, and she came after, when I was morestabilized and saw me every couple of days and checked on me.” Dr. Krym visits Santanna at Sunnybrook“She is definitely my hero. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.”Santanna’s hero: Dr. Doreen Yee Dr. Doreen Yee, Sunnybrook’s trauma team leader who directed Santanna’s care that night. “The truth is they probably would have taken Santanna to the closest hospital that night ifDr. Krym wasn’t there and she probably wouldn’t have survived.”Sunnybrook has a lot of experience in trauma; it is very resourceintense, it requires a lot of equipment as well as staff expertisein every aspect of care. We are ready 24 hours a day to treatthe critically ill. Our trauma teams can be mobilized to treatanything within 20-30 minutes of receiving a call.Sunnybrook has been able to recruit the best trauma staff for ourfacility, people who are passionate and dedicated to their work.They see it as a challenge and not a burden.” Santanna with her husband DanSantanna says:“I died twice on the table due to blood loss. It was nine hoursbefore they could stabilize me. The care at Sunnybrook was “After everything they gave meamazing. Dr. Yee and the rest of the doctors were amazing.All the nurses were amazing. They were right on top of things. back, I’d give anything I canIf something went wrong they were right there and they knewexactly what to do. They were awesome.” to help them.”