Most people don’t survive car accidents like the one that nearly took Cory Suits’ life.
The last thing he remembers is sitting in the middle of the back seat of the car he was riding in, looking down and then seeing the street light. "A couple seconds later we were all upside down fighting for our lives," he says about his horrific car accident on April 20, 2007.
The Indiana University Health LifeLine team transported Cory to the Level I Trauma Center at IU Health Methodist Hospital. His kidneys, spleen and pancreas and most of his liver were gone. Though it took years to recover after being catastrophically injured at age 18, Cory survived thanks to his hospital care. "They brought me back from sheer death," Cory says.
He has a hard time remembering the first part of his hospital stay, which still remains a bit foggy. "You don’t have an official wake up date when you’re in a coma," jokes Cory. "I remember waking up six, seven times." Every time, Cory says, someone would remind him that he was in a safe place and that his parents were near by. When Cory finally awoke for good, he looked down and saw a softball-size puncture hole in his chest. He tried to let out a scream but couldn’t because of the breathing tube in his mouth. For the next 225 days, Cory stayed in the hospital trying to relearn how to talk, walk and do other basic human functions.
"When you lose who you are, it’s a horrible feeling and you are really scared," Cory says "The doctors took extra time. They had big hearts and could have easily treated me like a number. Everyone took time, the doctors, the nurses, even the janitorial staff. Everyone took time to see how I was doing."
They also pushed Cory. "They didn’t take it easy on me," he said. "They gave me obstacles they knew I could overcome or I could overcome with time." When Cory wanted a drink of water and motioned with his hands for a drink, his nurses asked him to speak instead. His first phrase came after his father showed up in the hospital after a stressful day. Both like classic rock and Cory channeled his inner Peter Frampton and asked "Do You Feel Like We Do?," making both of them laugh.
Over time, Cory began to talk and walk again, thanks in much part to Timonthy Pohlman, the trauma doctor on call the day of his car accident. "He gave me hope when no one else could," Cory says about Dr. Pohlman. "He gave me my life and so much more. I’ve adopted him into my family." Cory says he’ll never forget how Dr. Pohlman gave his personal cell number to him "just in case anything happened."
"He let me call him," Cory says and "he’d sit down and talk with me as long as I had a question that needed to be answered. Normally a trauma physician wouldn’t take that kind of time."
Cory had already been in the hospital for four months, struggling to stay positive "since there was no sign of things letting up" when Dr. Pohlman helped to keep his hope alive. "I think I’m going to prescribe something," Dr. Pohlman told Cory. Shortly afterwards, his tiny white bichon frise dog named Mojo appeared wrapped in blanket at the hospital. "He helped save my life because if you’re not mentally there you’re not going to make it; you’ve got to have morale booster and he did that for me," says Cory, who is now 23 years old and lives at home. "I’ll never go to another hospital besides Methodist. I love that place; it is my second home. Of course, I wish I never got to learn it that way. You’ll never catch me going to another hospital again."