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Trauma, as Seen through a Mother’s Eyes

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Trauma, as Seen through a Mother’s Eyes

A son’s traumatic motorcycle accident and recovery inspires his mother to volunteer at the hospital that saved her son’s life

In June of 2021 24-year-old Victor Ramirez suffered severe head trauma in a motorcycle accident near his home in Montclair. Victor’s heart stopped for several minutes in the ambulance, but paramedics revived him and rushed him to the trauma center at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC).

“The last thing I saw before leaving my house was the face of my son 23-year-old, my youngest,” says Victor’s mother, Belen Ramirez. “I told him, have a good day son, I love you, be safe.”

In the early hours of the next morning, Belen received a phone call telling her that Victor was in an accident. After some confusion about where paramedics had taken Victor, she raced to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center where she learned his condition was serious and life-threatening.

“At that point my reaction was nope, not my boy, nope, my mind immediately went into denial, which was - not possible, not my son,” says Belen. “I just needed to see him and really expected to see him sitting up in the hospital bed.”

When she did see her son, he appeared lifeless, lying on a gurney, wearing a cervical collar. He was on a ventilator to keep his airway clear and was heavily sedated.

“How were we going to survive this situation?” says Belen. “We needed the power of prayer not just for my son, but for us and the many doctors and nurses taking care of my son.”

Victor spent five weeks in PVHMC’s trauma intensive care unit, which provides immediate critical care for all forms of injury. Two weeks into his intensive care battle, he again came close to losing his life when he went into respiratory failure. PVHMC doctors and nurses stabilized Victor’s condition, and he began to improve, slowly but surely. Family members were by Victor’s bedside day and night.

As Victor remained in a medically induced coma for many more days and doctors were concerned that the longer he remained in this state his chances of suffering permanent brain injury would increase.

“I recall one specific piece of advice was to talk to him, let him hear your voice, keep him connected to our world,” Belen remembers. “We did just that. We read to him from the last book he was reading; we played music he liked - gospel because I felt stronger in faith and meditation.”

More than five weeks later, Victor regained consciousness. After months of hard work, he relearned to walk and regained his strength. He returned to work and his tremendous progress continues. He is active and works out three days a week.

“My days of worry will always be there like most moms, the fear of almost losing your child never goes away,” adds Belen. “My husband Victor Sr. and I am forever grateful for the team of doctors, specialists and especially to the RNs, CNAs, and the respiratory specialist who provided 24-hour-a-day direct care for our son. They really got to see and know him, the fighter he is, from his first milestone of moving a finger, squeezing a hand, opening his eyes, and as tubes were removed one at a time, they saw him through it all.”

The care that Victor received at PVHMC inspired Belen to become a volunteer. As a hospital volunteer Belen moves around to various departments and observes so many patients without family support systems. She wishes she could reach out to all of them to let them know that someone cares.

“There is no amount of money that can be paid for saving our family member’s life,” says a relieved Belen. “So, in turn I give of my time at the hospital to help in any way that I can, hoping I might bring some relief to the nurses or staff- even if it’s just keeping a patient company, providing a warm blanket, a clean pillow or help with eating a meal.”