When Ginger Templeton sat down to draft an email to her son’s doctors and care team, she contemplated what the subject line should be. It came to her easily – “Miracles Come.”
However, Ginger wasn’t always so sure a miracle would come. In August 2020, her teenage son, Eric, was brought to Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center after a skateboarding fall. The accident resulted in a catastrophic head injury. He spent three “life-altering” weeks at the hospital where he was cared for by the teams in trauma care, respiratory care and the trauma intensive care unit.
Eric’s journey was a scary one, to say the least. He underwent several surgeries and encountered many life-threatening situations. Seeing as she is a nurse, Ginger was acutely aware of the danger her son faced. During treatment, Eric was eventually upgraded to two other facilities – both of which our care teams helped the family to select.
As she reflects on Eric’s stay at St. Vincent Medical Center specifically, Ginger shares she was comforted by the care he received there.
“It was so overwhelming. There was so much going on but there was never a time we didn’t feel cared for,” she reveals. “The St. Vincent team members and the Mercy Health mission was so important to us. I know we were meant to be there.”
Ginger and her family were on vacation in northern Ohio when the accident occurred. This put the family far away from their Columbus, Ohio area home during Eric’s three-week stay at St. Vincent Medical Center. While this could have added feelings of loneliness to an already difficult situation, Ginger shares that was never the case because of the caring and nurturing St. Vincent team members.
“The Mercy Health ‘Home Away from Home’ facility was not only lovely but a much-appreciated godsend. It allowed me and the family to stay with Eric every day,” Ginger says. “I didn’t want him to leave St. Vincent because I was so scared that he could never receive the same care he received there anywhere else.”
Our trauma team was the first to treat Eric for life-threatening head trauma. Ginger specifically remembers the expert care given by trauma surgeons Aaron Moore, MD, and John Leskovan, DO, when Eric first arrived. Also, Deborah Fisher, trauma coordinator, was a source of information while offering comfort, prayers, love and kindness.
Ginger also notes the entire nursing staff, including many recently graduated nurses, showed her and the family dedication and compassion.
“Each nurse I encountered was respectful of my need to be with Eric and ask questions. And since I’m a nurse myself, I often had very medical questions and each was graciously answered.”
When Eric eventually required a craniotomy to help alleviate his swelling brain, neurosurgeon Zubair Ahammad, DO, skillfully removed portions of his skull.
“The Columbus-based surgeon who reinserted the portions of Eric’s skull months later when we were home shared that this surgery likely saved Eric’s life,” Ginger says.
Eric finally came home on Dec. 30, 2020. So far he has completed nine surgeries, including his most recent one in April 2021.
On Oct. 30, 2021, the family celebrated Eric turning 20. It was watching this miracle come true that prompted Ginger to reach out to all those who cared for her son starting the summer of 2020. Although she had provided updates to the St. Vincent care team before, this time she wanted to share an amazing, and somewhat unexpected, accomplishment.
“Fifteen months out and Eric rode his own bike today! Very well and strong!” Ginger wrote. “Eric is being Eric again. His birthday wish today, before he blew out his candles, is to be driving a car within six months. A very fair wish that we will strive for.”
She added in her note “Eric has a way to go cognitively and with speech processes and conversing, but I believe time will heal this, too. He is a true miracle. And our blessing. I’m so grateful to have my son and celebrate this day with him and his brother, today.”
Reflecting back on the past year, Ginger shares she always took comfort in St. Vincent Medical Center’s 166-year mission of caring compassionately for the community.
“From the comfort of seeing that Cross of Christ at the entrance every day to where we are today, God bless the mission and caregivers who are forever part of Team Eric!”
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