Whether a motorcycle accident, a gunshot wound or another complex and often life-threatening injury, trauma providers are greatly challenged in caring for patients facing a serious trauma injury. They are also awed by the courage and resilience these patients and their families reveal through recovery. For that reason, Johns Hopkins adult and pediatric trauma services held their annual Trauma Survivors Day event May 10 to honor three patients representative of all patients they’ve treated in the past year. Naren Nair, an 8-year-old who needed emergency transport and surgery after his trachea was torn in a sledding accident, was one of them.
“What seemed like a minor trauma presented as a life-threatening injury with air leaking into your chest, which required a very long and complex operation,” said pediatric intensivist Corina Noje, addressing Naren at the event. “People say you were lucky, but it was not luck that helped you recover — it was your strength and resilience, your desire to get better and your family behind you. Congratulations, we are so very proud of you.”
Added pediatric trauma surgeon Isam Nasr, “You allowed us to reflect on our mission, to provide state-of-the-art care for children with serious trauma injuries. Your road to recovery is long and full of challenges, which is why we have a pretty big family of providers dedicated to the care of children with trauma injuries.”
Pediatric otolaryngologist Jonathan Walsh, who with pediatric surgeon Alex Garcia repaired Naren’s trachea, cited Naren’s relaxed demeanor going into the operating room. “You had this sense of calm and trust in us that made our job easier,” said Walsh. “Each step of recovery you exceeded our expectations. You had such determination to resume your normal life.”
Pediatric intensive care nurse Abbie Tucker also pointed to Naren’s unruffled demeanor, noting his biggest concern seemed to be his pet fish back home: “I was impressed with how brave and calm he was. While we worried about him, he wanted to make sure his fish was OK and being fed.”
Out of state visiting his family, Garcia sent Naren a message via video: “Your recovery and how well you did is the main reason I do what I do. I’m very proud of you and hope you are well mended.”
Child Life specialist Carrie Potter pointed to Naren’s strong relationship with his family: “You waved to your little sister and gave her a thumbs-up during that first visit — an older brother’s reassurance. During what I can only imagine was a very difficult and stressful experience for the entire Nair family, you all showed so much love and care and concern for each other.”
Similarly, pediatric critical care fellow Julie McCaw noted Naren’s family support. “It was an honor to care for you and to work with your parents in making you comfortable during your time in the PICU,” said McCaw. “Your parents are so good at taking care of you, even when it was difficult because you were sick, and I know they love you very much.”
Naren’s father, Sujay Kumar, responded that any thanks should go to the pediatric trauma team who took care of his son. “During his surgery, we felt he was in very good hands, and after surgery, when he was on a ventilator in the pediatric ICU, you reassured me every little thing was being taken care of, even music to console him,” Kumar said. “We are so thankful for the superb job you do — you are etched in our memory.”
The Pediatric Trauma Center at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, the only accredited pediatric trauma center in Maryland, treats some 800 children each year.