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Stories of survival told at regional trauma symposium
Governor receives award for boosting level of care
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Ashley Voss-Liebig of Travis Co. STAR Flight speaks about understanding stress during the Northeast Georgia Regional Trauma Symposium at First Baptist Church of Gainesville on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

When Christy Henderson first got the call in September 2016 about her son, Mitchell, being in a wreck, she assumed it was a fender bender.

Two phone calls later, she found out her son, a Union County Sheriff’s Office deputy, was set to be taken by helicopter to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.

“You can never, ever, ever be prepared for that … to think that he’s not going to make it. There’s no describing it,” Christy Henderson said.

Deputy Mitchell Henderson, who was seriously injured in a wreck while responding to a call, was the patient survivor story featured at the Regional Trauma Symposium held Friday, Nov. 2, at First Baptist Church in Gainesville.

Habersham County Emergency Services Director Chad Black serves as the chairman of the Region 2 Regional Trauma Advisory Committee.

“If you look at the list of injuries he had, very few people survive that. But because of the great care he got from start to finish, he’s back and at work and was able to stand up there … and say, ‘Here I am.’ And that’s why we do this symposium and that’s why we do what we do, because of people like him. That’s what makes the difference,” Black said.

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Booths are setup for attendees to learn more about organizations during the Northeast Georgia Regional Trauma Symposium at First Baptist Church of Gainesville on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

Because of the dense fog, flight nurse Martin Nethery saw that they were going to have to take Henderson on the ground from Union County to the Gainesville hospital. Nethery described it in a video as a roughly 75-minute drive over curvy mountain roads.

“In 40 years of EMS, I did not hold out a lot of hope in this situation,” Nethery said.

Henderson spent roughly a month in the intensive care unit before spending another month at the Shepherd Center.

Gov. Nathan Deal became the inaugural recipient of the Nathan Deal Governor’s Award for Trauma Excellence. Black said the governor is largely responsible for the $1.5 million given to the “Stop the Bleed” campaign, which led to trauma training across the state through the regional trauma advisory committees.

The award will go in future years to an individual who has “excelled in either trauma care research or prevention.”

“Over these past eight years, it has been my goal to make Georgia not only the No. 1 state for business, but ultimately the greatest place to call home,” Deal in a a statement. “As our population continues to grow and our communities flourish, quality health care is crucial to ensuring the overall well-being of Georgia’s citizens.”

Black lauded the medical center for its support and resources available to those in the region.

“I can’t say enough about the care that they give our trauma patients now, being a Level II trauma center, and then how much they do for us in supporting us,” he said.

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