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Take me to Timpanogos Regional Hospital – with their close-to-home PICU

Jill Winters
Posted on: 12/11/2020

The sun sparkled on the fluffy snow at Eagle Point and the resort had few visitors – it seemed like a picture-perfect day for a family ski trip. Ben Winters, 16, flew down the mountain with exhilarating speeds on his first run of the day when he approached a jump near a terrain park. Looking back, he says he knew he approached the jump too fast and could tell it wouldn’t end well. It didn’t. Though he still can’t figure out how he hit the ground, he suffered plenty of injuries to prove he fell with tremendous force.

Ben’s mother, Jill Winters, hadn’t left the lodge before she received a call from ski patrol. She met the team and her son at the ski patrol hut.

“They had him bundled up, laying on a stretcher, attached to the snowmobile. He was on oxygen, but I saw that he could move his arms and legs. I thought to myself, ‘Everything else can be fixed. He’s not paralyzed,’” Jill said.

Directed to the local Beaver Valley Hospital, Ben underwent a CT scan to assess his injuries. There, Ben and his family learned that he suffered seven compression fractures in the thoracic spine (upper back and abdomen), a cracked sternum (the breastbone that connects to the ribs), a broken elbow and a partially collapsed lung. They also learned Ben needed more advanced trauma care, so he’d be transferred by ambulance to an equipped hospital closer to their home.

“Initially, I thought they were sending us to Timpanogos Regional Hospital because of our medical insurance coverage, but we really went there because it’s a great hospital,” Jill said.

“Dr. Dustin Monroe met us in the ER and was so immediately kind and funny, that we fell in love with him . . . He began describing the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). I knew nothing about the PICU until I got there – and I became immediately grateful.”

Timpanogos Regional Hospital offers the highest level of pediatric care in Utah County; with pediatric critical care available 24/7.

Patients receive coordinated, personalized care from highly trained pediatric nurses, physicians and support teams (like physical, occupational and speech therapists).

“During the next few hours, I realized how sick and broken my son was,” Jill said. “Dr. Monroe was 100 percent with us during his hospital stay and beyond. He bent over backwards. He coordinated care with all the specialties. He gave me his cell number and told me I could call or text any day, at any time. The attention was so very personable.”

At Timpanogos Regional Hospital, Ben received close monitoring and customized treatment for his traumatic injuries.

For several hours, Ben needed additional oxygen until his partially collapsed lung re-inflated. A couple days later, he underwent elbow surgery to stabilize the broken bone. For the seven compression fractures on his spine, Ben received a custom-fitted brace that strapped around his stomach and extended to his chin, keeping his neck and spine immobile.

Once home from the hospital, Ben attended frequent follow-up and physical therapy appointments. He diligently worked to regain strength and mobility throughout the year. Now, Ben’s ready to hit the slopes again.

“We’re going skiing for the first time since the accident on Monday. I told him no jumps. Who knows if he’ll obey,” Jill said.

Jill Winters
Posted on: 12/11/2020

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