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Chad Stang: Trauma Warrior

August 28, 2020 | Fisher-Titus Medical Center

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In October of 2018, Fisher-Titus partnered with MetroHealth in Cleveland to provide a higher level of trauma care close to home for the community.IMG_9392

Since then, care has been provided for countless trauma patients at Fisher-Titus, a Level III Trauma Center since 2009. The partnership with MetroHealth enables us to increase our knowledge base, expand our expertise, and increase the level of care we provide to our patients who experience a traumatic injury.

One of these patients is Monroeville resident Chad Stang.

What started as a routine softball tournament on October 5, 2019 turned into a series of events Chad Stang will likely not soon forget.

While sliding to catch a ball, Chad collided with another player whose shoulder hit his stomach. Despite the incident, Chad finished that game and started the next game as a designated hitter.

While running to first on a hit, Chad noticed some lightheadedness. Knowing that one of his friends in the stands was an emergency nurse, he went to talk to her.

“I was telling her I almost passed out and ended up passing out in front of her,” Chad explained.

Still, he stayed for the remainder of the tournament. As time went on, Chad began having muscle spasms starting in his shoulder and moving down his right side. When he got home, he tried to control the spasms by laying down with a heating pad and an ice pack, but they persisted. At that point he knew he had to seek help at the Fisher‐Titus Emergency Department.

By the time he arrived, Chad had enough discomfort that he was not able to lay flat without feeling pain.

“It was pretty miserable to lay down. I felt like I didn’t have any abs,” said Chad.

Chad was given medication and had some tests and it wasn’t long before he realized this may not be the routine injury he initially thought.

“While we were sitting there, we heard that my room was upgraded to trauma level 2 and we knew that wasn’t a good thing,” he said.

The doctor came to talk to Chad about his scans. The tests showed that he had a hematoma on his abdomen as well as blood on his liver and spleen and trauma to his colon. Because of his injuries, he was admitted for observation.

Three days later on October 8, Chad was having a particularly difficult day.

“I felt bad all day,” Chad remembered. “The TV was never on, my phone stayed on the stand.”

That evening, the STNA caring for Chad began checking on his heart. His heart rate was high and the care team began taking steps to stabilize his heart. Once stabilized Chad was moved to the ICU. He wasn’t there long before Fisher‐Titus/MetroHealth Trauma Surgeon, Dr. Esther Tseng came to talk to him. She told him that his kidneys were failing, and he would need surgery as soon as possible.

About an hour later, Chad was wheeled into surgery.

Five hours later Chad woke up from surgery.

Chad remained at Fisher‐Titus for the next ten days beginning his road to recovery.

Not having food since the day of his injury, it was a total of 10 days before he was able to eat solid food again. Over the course of his time in the hospital, Chad lost approximately 23 pounds.

“I worked out and played softball. To go from that to not being able to walk very far without my oxygen dropping and the nurses telling me I had to stop because they were afraid I was going to pass out was pretty crazy,” he said.

After 13 days, Chad was able to go home but the recovery process was not much easier. He had trouble lying on a flat bed and getting comfortable while sleeping. Chad was off work from his job as District Manager for Huron County Soil and Water Conservation for six weeks and it took that long for his wound to fully heal. It was three months post‐surgery before Chad could sit up from laying without using his arms to lift himself.

“It was a long process,” Chad recalled. “Thirteen days in a hospital is pretty crazy, but I definitely had great care.”

During this time, Chad also received care at home from Fisher‐Titus Home Health and was having regular checkups with the MetroHealth Trauma team, mostly here in Norwalk.

“Dr. Tseng and the rest of the Fisher‐Titus/MetroHealth trauma team are all absolutely fantastic. It’s a huge, huge pick‐up by Fisher‐Titus to have them in‐house as trauma surgeons. They’re all awesome people,” said Chad.

Trauma Program Manager for the Fisher‐Titus/ MetroHealth partnership Andrea Wetherill also expressed her gratitude for the MetroHealth trauma team.

“As a long‐standing emergency nurse at Fisher‐Titus and a resident of the community, I personally appreciate the onboarding of MetroHealth to support our trauma services,” Andrea said. “Taking care of trauma locally is not new to our emergency department; however, since the partnership began, we have been able to keep trauma care close to home. We do not want to see you hurt, but should an accident occur, we are here 24/7 to care for you!”

Previously, many patients were transferred to higher level trauma centers due to the complexity of their injuries. The same trauma surgeons that care for patients at MetroHealth main campus in Cleveland, care for the patients locally at Fisher‐Titus so these more complex cases can be treated close to home.

MetroHealth is committed to maintaining outstanding local care to Norwalk and the surrounding communities.

“They bring years of knowledge, experience, and best care practices to our community not only for trauma, but also for acute care surgical needs,” Andrea added. “The partnership has led to so many successful recoveries, many of which fully recuperated by strictly undergoing all acute and rehabilitation trauma services at Fisher‐Titus,”

Finally, after four months, Chad was able to start working out again and he began preparing for his next planned surgery with Dr. Tseng.

That surgery took place at MetroHealth in Cleveland with Dr. Tseng on March 3, 2020.

“It’s crazy how different the two surgeries were. I was worried because of how long it took to bounce back last time,” he said.

This time, Chad was in the hospital for seven days and was able to resume a workout routine just five weeks later. He returned to work after only 13 days post‐surgery to his job that requires frequent walking and site visits.

“Since then it’s been great. I’ve had no more issues and everything seems to be getting back to normal,” he said.

He’s slowly regaining his strength. After his first surgery, he said it took five months to gain eight pounds. This time he’s gained six pounds in two months. While he’s not yet back to the level of activity he was pre‐injury, Chad looks forward to getting back to lifting weights and playing softball.

“We are excited that Chad is in his final steps of recovery,” Andrea shared. “His resiliency makes him a trauma warrior!”

For more information on the Fisher‐Titus/MetroHealth trauma program, visit fishertitus.org/trauma.