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On the night of June 5, 2007, Luis Tec was in a motorcycle accident that almost cost him his left leg.
“It happened on the 805 freeway,” Luis said. “The front tire of my motorcycle lost air and came off the rim. I lost control, hit the center divider and flew over the divider onto the opposite side of the freeway.”
With serious internal and external injuries — including a shattered pelvis and severely disfigured leg just 4 inches from separating from his body — Luis was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital’s Trauma Center. The moments that followed are fuzzy, with the exception of arriving at the Emergency Department.
“When I arrived, the trauma team of about 12 was waiting for me,” said Luis. “Before I knew it, everyone was around me. They took really good care of me.”
Luis underwent a seven-hour surgery to repair his internal injuries and reposition and stabilize his leg. When he awoke from surgery, the severity of his leg injuries hit home. “My biggest fear was losing my leg, having to rely on and burden my wife and not be able to keep up with my kids.”
The father of three remembers asking Sharp-affiliated orthopedic surgeon Dr. Anthony Sanzone if he would ever walk again.
“Dr. Sanzone said, ‘It’s all up to you. If you put your mind to it, I can see you playing catch with your kids in the backyard in the future.’”
These words of encouragement stuck with Luis throughout the subsequent orthopedic and skin graft surgeries he underwent to restore his leg form and function. The initial emotional support he received from his trauma team equipped him to maintain a positive state of mind even when medical challenges arose.
Though Luis’s body initially rejected some of the skin graft procedures, which required additional surgeries along the way, what’s most vivid in his mind is the unwavering dedication of his medical team from day one. “Everyone went above and beyond,” said Luis. “They are truly miracle workers.”
Today, Luis is not only walking, but the trauma response team set into motion a recovery plan that enabled him to build up the strength to coach his children’s sports teams. Though he has yet to regain some range of motion in his leg, he has been able to return to his active lifestyle and most importantly, has enough mobility and strength to keep up with his kids.
Luis’ remarkable recovery exemplifies what is possible, given the passion and dedication of the men and women who work on the front lines at Sharp Memorial Hospital’s Trauma Department.
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To find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday 8 am to 6 pm.
For More Emergency Care Information
To find general health information, visit Emergency Situations and Conditions in Adult Health.