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Cassidy Smith – Emergency Room and Trauma Success Story

The road to recovery

When an evening drive turned tragic, Methodist Dallas’ trauma team was ready

Cassidy Smith After a serious car accident, then-19-year-old
Cassidy Smith faced multiple fractures and more
than a dozen surgeries. Fortunately, her doctors
and nurses at Methodist Dallas helped keep her
spirits high.

There is something about a mother’s intuition: It’s almost always right — even when you don’t want it to be.

That was the case for Belinda Smith on June 12, 2014. That evening, her daughter Cassidy abruptly came to mind.

“I immediately had this feeling something was wrong,” she says.

Unfortunately, her intuition was right.

Unexpected emergency

Earlier that evening, Cassidy went for a drive. She remembers the early legs of that summer jaunt, traveling a farm-to-market road in Scurry, windows rolled down and her favorite musician, Shania Twain, crooning from the CD player.

“The next thing I knew, I was hunched over the steering wheel,” she says.

An oncoming driver had swerved into Cassidy’s lane, hitting her head on and thrusting the teenage girl’s car into a ditch.

Coincidentally, Cassidy’s friend lived just down the road from where the accident occurred. His dad, a paramedic, rushed to the scene.

“You know how people in movies say, ‘Stay with me?’ That’s what happened,” Cassidy recalls. “I don’t remember any pain, but I do remember hearing my friend’s dad communicate my injuries to the paramedics. When I heard that my bone was sticking out of my leg, that’s when I started panicking.”

A life on the line

Cassidy Smith Within months of being severely injured in a
car accident, Cassidy Smith was walking,
playing guitar, and heading back to school.
She credits the doctors and nurses at Methodist
Dallas for motivating her to keep going.

Cassidy suffered a broken sternum, a dislocated hip, internal bleeding from a lacerated liver and spleen, and compound fractures in every limb — two so severe that amputation was a very real possibility.

She was taken by CareFlite to Methodist Dallas Medical Center, one of only three adult Level I Trauma Centers in Dallas County, and was placed in the care of the chief of surgery, trauma surgeon

J. Darryl Amos, MD, and orthopedic trauma surgeon Danny Holland, DO.

“Dr. Amos came out of surgery and started listing Cassidy’s injuries, and then Dr. Holland said, ‘But we’ve got to save her life first,’” Belinda recalls. “Everything went quiet really fast.”

The trauma surgeons worked side-by-side to stop Cassidy’s internal bleeding and reset her bones. “It was touch-and-go that first week,” Dr. Holland says. “We had to wash out and clean those fracture sites and stabilize the limbs for future procedures.” Over the next six months, Cassidy would undergo about 15 surgeries to not only survive but also to restore her quality of life.

Cassidy’s biggest fans

Cassidy persevered thanks to the support of her parents and eight siblings.

“I learned how loved I was,” she says. “I don’t think a day went by without a visitor.”

She also credits the team at Methodist Dallas for restoring her self-esteem and seeing her through times of depression and discouragement.

“I’ve never been into school spirit, but I definitely have hospital spirit,” Cassidy says, laughing. “Go, Team Methodist!”

The nurses on 9 Schenkel Tower stood out. They cried with her in her lowest moments and once even threw her a “girl party,” complete with a manicure. Two of her emergency department nurses visited often, and her post-op nurses joined in when she came out of surgeries singing classics like “Ice, Ice Baby.”

Cassidy’s mom remembers Dr. Holland, who has four daughters of his own, at times being more of a father than a doctor.

“This was a life-changing event for Cassidy, and everyone who made contact with her tried to pull her out of the doldrums,” Dr. Holland says. “I just sat with her and talked with her as I would with one of my own kids.

“While this was a tragic accident, we were going to focus on what we could control and we were going to make the best of it.”

A new outlook on life

Within months of Cassidy’s initial surgeries, she was walking, driving, and playing guitar. She continues physical therapy, and there are other surgeries ahead, but Cassidy sees the bright side of her future.

“I now know what I want to do with my life: I want to be a physical therapist and help people,” she says, having just completed her first semester in community college.

“I always get slightly emotional when it’s nighttime and I see that blue cross atop Methodist Dallas,” she says. “Thank you is not big enough for saving my life.”