The Level I Trauma Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) will celebrate incredible patient saves and pay tribute to the contributions and dedication of the first responders and health care professionals who are on the front lines of trauma and emergency care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during its seventh annual Amazing Saves Picnic on Sunday, June 3, 2017.
The picnic will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at the Black Bear Lake Country Club, 457 Stage Coach Road, in Millstone Township. This family-friendly event will include a buffet lunch, snacks, laser tag, Segway rides, a rock-climbing wall, water sports, paddle boats, mini golf and more. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children between the ages of 4 and 10. Members of the media are also invited to attend.
Along with patients, families, first responders and health care providers, RWJ’s Trauma Team will honor Piscataway, N.J. resident, Gabe Hurley. at this year’s picnic. In 2009, Gabe Hurley was a gifted guitarist and recent college graduate who landed a well-paying information technology job when a devastating car crash changed everything in his world. Hurley’s car was struck by a reckless teen driver leaving him in a severely critical state.
Fortunately, Hurley’s accident occurred near RWJUH, one of only three Level I Trauma Centers in the state, which has a team of highly skilled specialists on-call 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, to respond to trauma cases. Tushar Patel, MD, an attending plastic surgeon at RWJUH who specializes in complex reconstructive surgery was part of the team that responded.
“I have been doing this for 10 years and this was one of the worst facial traumas I have ever seen,” Dr. Patel says. “When he arrived here, both globes (eyes) were ruptured and the tissue in his face was completely de-stabilized.”
A team, which included a neurosurgeon, ophthalmologist and andoral surgeon worked together to assess Hurley’s injuries and determine a course of action. A series of CAT-scans were ordered and doctors performed surgery to stabilize Hurley’s facial skeleton and assess the damage.
The team determined that Hurley needed to have his frontal sinus passage, entire mid-face and jaw reconstructed. During the 13-hour surgery Dr. Patel also inserted pins in Hurley’s hand to stabilize the bones and help them heal properly.
“We knew he played guitar, so we were more aggressive in our approach,” Dr. Patel explains. “Although Gabe remains blind, he has 100 percent use of his arms and hands. He is one of the most appreciative patients that I have ever had. He’s put what happened behind him and he’s moving forward every day.”
The respect between patient and surgeon is mutual.
“To come from where I was to where I am now, is a testament to his work. I give him a lot of credit for giving me the ability to play guitar again,” said Hurley of Dr. Patel.
Today Hurley uses this tragedy to educate others –serving as a motivational speaker who inspires thousands of youths across New Jersey each year.
“I want to help other kids look past any obstacles they face and see what they can achieve in life,” he says.
Hurley, his family and friends will salute the first responders who came to his aid and his entire healthcare team at the 7th Annual Amazing Saves Picnic. The Amazing Saves Picnic promises a day of fun and celebration, and is open to the public. Registration is required. To register, please call 1-888-MD-RWJUH.
To learn more about RWJUH, please visit www.rwjuh.edu. For a referral to a physician affiliated with RWJUH, please call 1-888-MD-RWJUH. Follow us on Twitter at www.rwjuh.edu/twitter and Facebook at www.rwjuh.edu/facebook.