Bixler Trauma & Emergency Center Patient Stories

Dakota Massey

DakotaMassey3August 4, 2015, began as a typical day for Dakota Massey. Work passed slowly as the familiar rumble of thunder marked the beginning of another summer thunderstorm. He clocked out like usual and headed home on familiar Carrabelle roads. Only this Tuesday would be unlike any other for Dakota, because just after 3 pm he was involved in a head-on collision with an oncoming semi-truck.

This kind of accident is one that many likely wouldn’t survive. Miraculously, Dakota did. And he would need several more miracles over the following three years to make a recovery.

Read more of Dakota's Story

Ed Huck

Ed Huck web readyLike almost everyone who comes to the emergency room, Ed and Linda Huck were scared when they were taken by EMS from a local walk-in clinic to Tallahassee Memorial’s Bixler Emergency Center. Ed was suffering from what they thought was bacterial pneumonia and breathing was becoming more and more difficult.

“I really wasn’t sure I was going to make it,” said Ed.

Thankfully, although frightened, the Hucks found what all families who walk though Tallahassee Memorial’s emergency room doors find: life saving care and compassion.

Ed’s condition took him directly up to the Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU) for constant monitoring. There, hooked up to IVs and a breathing apparatus, Ed met Shana Geil, RN. Shana was administering medication to Ed and stayed in his room to document his chart when things took a turn for the worse. Ed’s fingertips and lips began turning blue – Shana took quick action to ensure Ed was breathing and stabilize him.

“When my patients are critically ill I always stay in the room to monitor them while I chart,” said Shana. “Ed was very sick, so I stayed in the room to keep an eye on him. I’m really glad I did.”

Throughout Ed’s stay, Shana kept a watchful eye. She made sure Ed had everything he needed, including a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine and a humidifier so he could sleep at night. She also became Ed’s resource as he was prescribed more medication.

“Shana saved my life. Her level of professionalism and compassion was amazing. She was an advocate for Linda and I; she even came in at the end of her shift to make sure I was OK before she left. She is an outstanding nurse,” said Ed.

Thankfully, Ed was discharged after about a week in the hospital. He is recovering well, and has a new passion for promoting the kind of care he received from Shana and the nurses at Tallahassee Memorial.

“Not only did I nominate Shana for a Daisy Nursing Award,” said Ed. “But, I’ve also donated to the Tallahassee Memorial Foundation to support training for nurses so that others can receive the same level of care that I did.”

Ed’s donation was hand-delivered when he came back to personally thank Shana, and all the nurses who helped him at TMH.

“I’m not one for the spotlight,” said Shana. “But Ed’s kind words and generosity mean a lot to me. I’ve always treated my patients like they were my own family, it boils down to one simple idea: treat others the way you want to be treated. I’m glad I got to take care of Ed, and I’m proud that he’s supporting the nursing profession as a result.”

Dan Bulecza

Dan BuleczaIt was a sunny and cold February morning in Tallahassee when a routine motorcycle ride changed everything. Dan Bulecza was just over a mile away from his rural home as he approached an intersection.

Coming from the opposite side, a van stopped at the intersection – without spotting Dan – and continued on. Within an instant, Dan had no time to avoid the van and collided into the side before being ejected from his motorcycle.

Two witnesses, including a nurse and a paramedic, stopped their vehicles and ran over to the scene.

The motorcycle, covered in spilled gasoline, had caught fire. Dan who was unresponsive and happened to be on the outside of the blaze, was pulled by those bystanders and carried to safety.

 Within minutes, an emergency response team was on site and transported Dan to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.

His wife, Susan Bulecza, who was at home with their son during the time of the accident, received the call of what had happened. She contacted immediate family,  gathered belongings and headed to the hospital with their son.

Upon her arrival, Susan – who has previous experience in trauma care – was taken to the emergency department to see her husband briefly. He was then transferred to  the Neuro Intensive Care Unit (Neuro-ICU).

For the first time in the history of TMH, Dan was the first patient, whose injuries were so severe, that it required two nurses instead of the hospital standard of one nurse per patient in this area.

During his month-long stay at Tallahassee Memorial, Dan would have no memory of his treatment or care, however his family says its something they will never forget.

Dan’s care team – including Hank Hutchinson, MD, Orthopedic Surgery, Christopher Rumana, MD, Neurological Surgery, Frank Greidler, MD, Cardiology and many more – cared for him through countless surgeries and treatments for a traumatic brain injury, broken ribs, collapsed lungs and complex extremity fractures.

“We have nothing but good things to say about TMH,” said Dan. “We truly believe I am alive because of the level of expertise and care provided by my physicians, nurses and others.”

Following his initial treatment, Dan was transferred to a rehabilitation center in Jacksonville, where he would receive continuous care for another month and be close to his other son and daughter-in-law who lived just minutes away. Dan continued his outpatient therapy at the TMH Neuro Rehabilitation Outpatient Clinic for another six months.

Now back in Tallahassee and able to walk and use his arms, although he has some restriction, Dan spends his days adjusting to this “new normal” and most importantly cherishing the moments he has with his family. Dan enjoys working at his church, Good Shepherd, volunteering with his Masonic organizations and watching sports, including NASCAR.

With a strong medical team and family support system by his side, Dan continues to push himself everyday and live life to the absolute fullest.