Patient Story: Meet Sylvia
Sylvia Bogusz is very lucky to be alive.
Amazingly, mind-bogglingly, awe-inspiringly lucky.
In June 2007, Sylvia was driving home from spending time with her friends after class at URI’s Talent Development Program for incoming freshmen when her tire went flat on US Route 1. She pulled out her cell phone and called her mother to come and pick her up as she waited outside her car.
But the drunk driver got there first. Seconds later, a car barreled onto the median, hitting Sylvia at 100 miles an hour. The sickening impact sent the 17-year-old girl flying 125 feet, into the middle of Route 1, across the two lane highway.
Sylvia’s mother was the first to arrive on the chaotic and traumatic scene. She found Sylvia lying crumpled, bleeding, and near death. Her maternal instincts taking over, she shielded her daughter from oncoming traffic like a lioness over a cub until help arrived.
When paramedics reached her, Sylvia had lost 66% of her blood volume. Arriving at Rhode Island Hospital by med flight, this young woman was bleeding to death.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) Adams, chief of trauma and surgical critical care, personally cared for Sylvia. For the first 48 hours, Sylvia’s life hung by a thread. Her bleeding and blood pressure defied control.
But with Dr. Adams by her side, Sylvia lived to fight another day.
Her fight would go on for many months. Her brain was severely injured and her right arm, thigh bone, pelvis, and several vertebrae were shattered. Sylvia spent months in intensive care, most of it in a medically induced coma to relieve pressure on her brain. With part of her colon dead, Sylvia had an ileostomy in place for over nine months. Through it all, Sylvia was seen by almost every specialist at Rhode Island Hospital, from Neurology to Orthopedics to Infectious Disease. She endured 12 operations over the course of her treatment.
As grave and complex as they were, Sylvia’s injuries were nothing that Rhode Island Hospital couldn’t handle. “We learned a great deal from Sylvia’s case,” says Dr. Adams. “While her case was horrific, we do this daily. It was a regular Saturday for us.”
It took 15 months for Sylvia to relearn how to speak, walk and eat again. She recently graduated from the University of Rhode Island. She’s even driving again.
“I don’t know where I would be without Rhode Island Hospital,” Sylvia says. The doctors and the nurses are amazing – they saved my life. They helped put me back together again. It is hard to put into words the gratitude I feel.”