“Thank you doesn’t even cover it.”

June 13, 2024

Adam Say and his wife BrookeOn June 6, 2023, Adam Say visited D.C. for a ceremony hosted by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to accept the President’s “E” Award for his company’s contributions to the expansion of the country’s exports. About an hour after he received the award, dressed in beachwear, he hopped aboard a rideshare taxi destined for the airport to meet his family for their annual vacation. Seconds after exiting the parking lot, the taxi was T-boned by another car, jumped the curb, and slammed into concrete walls. “We eventually hit a curb, caught some air and crashed into two different concrete walls,” Say said, his voice cracking with emotion.

Remarkably, he was able to crawl from the wreckage and walk a few yards. He quickly knew he sustained serious injuries. When EMTs arrived, they decided The Center for Trauma and Critical Care at GW Hospital was the right place to bring Say for treatment. The Center is verified as a Level 1 Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons. The Center is prepared to service a diverse group of patients, from area residents to visiting dignitaries and heads of state.

All hands on deck

Say had sustained a broken foot, seven broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken vertebrae and a tear in his intestines with internal bleeding. GW Hospital immediately contacted the blood bank to prepare for a blood transfusion.

Babak Sarani, MD, FACS, FCCM, Founder and Chief of the Center for Trauma and Critical Care at GW Hospital, was headed to a meeting but quickly changed out of his suit to stay and oversee Say’s care.

Say’s condition required collaborative care. Emergency medicine physicians and nurses, anesthesiologists and operating room personnel, and trauma surgeons all worked to address his injuries. The hospital’s acute pain service placed an epidural catheter, greatly lowering his need for narcotics.

Before rushing him into surgery, Susan Kartiko, MD, PhD, FACS, said she would be his trauma surgeon and the team would do everything it took to help save his life. “I never, not one single time, felt alone here,” Say recalls. “I knew I was at the right place at the right time, with the right doctors.”

Once stabilized, Say told his care team that he wanted to get back to exercise as soon as possible. The decision was made to reconstruct his chest using rib plating. GW Hospital is the only facility in the Washington, D.C. region recognized as a Collaborative Center by the Chest Wall Injury Society.

Physicians at GW Hospital explained the procedure to Say and his wife of 20 years, Brooke. The operation is performed by placing the patient under general anesthesia and making incisions over the broken ribs. Titanium plates and screws are then inserted to stabilize the broken ribs, which reduces pain as well as the deformity of the rib cage as the ribs heal.

“I’m certain that the depth of care at GW Hospital was not just the beginning of my physical healing, but also the support I needed for my emotional recovery,” Say expressed.

Making his comeback

In all, Say spent 10 days at GW Hospital. Thanks to the rib plating, he’s returning to his CrossFit® activities. Since he’s recovered, he has reunited with the team of medical professionals that made such a difference in his life. He also attended GW Hospital’s Trauma Survivors’ Day in November of 2023.

“I received top medical care including innovative surgical intervention in the form of the four titanium plates in my chest,” Say expressed with great emotion. “I am thankful for being taken care of by the most thoughtful and caring medical providers that I could ever imagine.”

Just six months after the accident, Say added some levity in his remarks when he challenged anyone to take him on in a burpee contest. “Time and place matter. People matter more,” he shared at the event. “Thank you, EMTs. Thank you, GW Hospital team for saving my life.”