16
Nov

UCHealth Now Level 1 Trauma Center, Treats Most Severe Injuries

By Kathy Walsh

Link to original article: https://denver.cbslocal.com/2018/10/16/uchealth-now-level-1-trauma-center-treats-most-severe-injuries/

DENVER (CBS4) – UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital is now a Level 1 trauma center. It is the fifth hospital in Colorado to attain that designation.

uch trauma patient 6pkg transfer frame 1304 UCHealth Now Level 1 Trauma Center, Treats Most Severe Injuries

(credit: CBS)

It means UCHealth can treat some of the most severe and complex injuries. The hospital has around-the-clock coverage by trauma surgeons and the availability of many specialists to handle injuries caused by gunshot wounds, stabbings, car crashes, falls and even a jump from a burning building.

uch trauma patient 6pkg transfer frame 194 UCHealth Now Level 1 Trauma Center, Treats Most Severe Injuries

(credit: CBS)

“Do I want to live or do I want to die?” Alina Miller asked herself on Aug.6, 2012.

She had seconds to decide. An arsonist set fire to her Aurora apartment building. Her hallway was engulfed in flames.

uch trauma patient 6pkg transfer frame 108 UCHealth Now Level 1 Trauma Center, Treats Most Severe Injuries

Alina Miller (credit: CBS)

“My bedroom was already filling with smoke,” Alina said. “I knew that if I waited, if I tried to wait for firefighters, I wasn’t going to make it because the smoke was so thick.”

Alina jumped from the window of her fourth floor apartment.

“It was instantaneous overwhelming pain,” she told CBS4’s Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

uch trauma patient 6pkg transfer frame 1608 UCHealth Now Level 1 Trauma Center, Treats Most Severe Injuries

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh interviews Alina Miller. (credit: CBS)

Her back was broken along with her heel and the toes on her right foot. Her left foot was worse.

“I was told it was like a potato chip, a crushed potato chip,” she said.

Alina was rushed to University of Colorado Hospital. Over the next four years, she was in and out with eight surgeries, infections, and excruciating pain in her left leg. In 2016, she had it amputated.

“At no point have I regretted it. I knew it was time to say goodbye to that leg,” she said.

uch trauma patient 6pkg transfer frame 1821 UCHealth Now Level 1 Trauma Center, Treats Most Severe Injuries

(credit: Alina Miller)

Now, Alina is happily married. She tries all sorts of sports. She attributes much of her recovery to the staff at UCHealth.

“So many working pieces working together to make me well again,” Alina said.

She is delighted that the hospital is now a Level 1 trauma center.

“This designation is proof of what they’ve been doing all along is incredible trauma care,” she said.

Alina lost a leg, but gained a profession. She works at Creative Technology Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions helping other people who have lost limbs.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 since 1984. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.