Help Paula Brewer get better!

On New Year’s Eve, Paula was a passenger in a car that was hit by a drunk driver. She sustained four fractured ribs, a fractured pelvis and two fractured vertebrae. She also had a head injury from the collision and has a subdural hematoma, or bleeding outside her brain. While this particularly injury is not life threatening in and of itself, combined with Paula’s previous injuries and the fact that she takes a blood thinner for a blood clotting condition, it makes her condition all the more serious.

At this moment Paula is still in the hospital and we hope that she will be able to go home soon. It will take some time for her to heal and recover. While there is little we can do to help her heal faster, we can help alleviate some of her financial worries. We don’t know yet what her medical expenses will be, but we do know that while she is unable to work her disability payments alone will not cover her living expenses. We would like to raise enough money to cover her living expenses for the next several months while she recovers. With her injuries Paula has enough problems to worry about, let’s make sure her finances are not one of them.

To say that Paula has been both very fortunate and unfortunate is an understatement. For those of you that don't know, here is the background on her previous injuries (taken from an article written about Paula in 2009 ):

 “PAULA BREWER, a 40-year-old Wellington dental hygienist, remembers starting her morning routine a little more than a year ago with a shower and then falling as she reached for a towel. Falling, and not being able to get up. Paula – youthful, vibrant, active and in seemingly good health, had suffered a stroke. Rushed to a local hospital for treatment, tests revealed she had a blood clot in her brain. Surgeons tried to remove the clot, but were not entirely successful – and her carotid artery was accidentally nicked in the process. Paula’s family was told to prepare for the worst – the surgeons thought she would bleed to death overnight.

Paula’s will to live got her through the night and the procedure had allowed just enough blood flow to prevent permanent paralysis. She was told her carotid artery would heal on its own, but she was paralyzed on her left side. Doctors determined she needed rehabilitation to help restore mobility. Ten days later she was transferred to Bethesda’s Cornell Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine. Eager to recover, Paula began her rehabilitation sessions only to face another life threatening hurdle. In one of her sessions, she began having trouble breathing and her blood pressure dropped. Her skin was cold and clammy. She was in cardiogenic shock.

Her cardiologist Dr. Steven Borzak recalls, “We knew Paula had a blood clot in her lungs, and that she would die if it were not removed. I called the interventional radiologist and the interventional cardiologist, neither of whom felt that they would be able to remove enough of the clot to allow the heart to circulate blood through the lungs.” His next call was to cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Michael Carmichael, M.D., who Dr. Borzak says acknowledged that the procedure she needed, an emergency pulmonary embolectomy, has an 80% operative mortality, but believed it was Paula’s best shot at survival. Dr. Carmichael immediately took Paula into surgery.

Dr. Carmichael and the Heart Institute medical team performed the open-heart surgery finding three clots – including one that was 12 inches that stayed intact even as it was pulled out. Dr. Carmichael says that in his 28 years of surgery, he had never seen a blood clot that large.

The surgery also revealed more – a hole in Paula’s heart, which Dr. Carmichael believes was the cause of her stroke. Now a little over a year later, thanks to a lot of rehabilitation and determination, she has regained almost all of her mobility and her prognosis is good. She has resumed many of her normal activities, even riding her bike again. Not able to go back to work just yet, she’s decided to join Bethesda’s team – as a volunteer, helping to provide hope and encouragement to patients in the

Cornell Institute going through similar situations as she experienced. Paula says it’s a miracle she’s alive today and she credits the Bethesda Medical Team with saving her life.”

Paula was right; it is a miracle that she is alive. Since her surgeries, she worked tirelessly to strengthen her left side to the point where hardly anyone without the knowledge of her stroke would know that she had been paralyzed.

However, her challenges did not stop there. In November 2011, she was involved a car accident that resulted in her shattering her heel bone. Not only did she shatter her heel bone, but she shattered the heel bone on her strong leg, the leg that was not paralyzed from her stroke. Again Paula went into recovery mode and drew from her seemingly endless amount of courage and strength and ultimately rid herself of the need for a cane to walk.

Before her most recent accident on New Year’s Eve, Paula was in excellent shape and spirit. In the near future, let’s help her to focus once again on achieving that goal and that goal alone. Please make a donation, and if you would like, leave an encouraging message for Paula. Many thanks!


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Travis Hodges 
Wellington, FL
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