University of Maryland Medical Center Celebrates "The Gift of Life" At The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Gala

Event Honors Hero Who Changed Six Lives through Organ Donation -- and the Medical Teams Who Helped Make it Possible

Apr 27, 2013, 22:22 ET from University of Maryland Medical Center

BALTIMORE, April 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In a celebration of the "Gift of Life," nearly 1,900 people gathered tonight at the annual R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Gala to recognize the heroic legacy of one young man whose gift of organ donation dramatically changed the lives of six strangers.  The event also paid tribute to the team of EMS personnel and Shock Trauma staff who worked tirelessly to try to save the young man's life, and to the transplant teams who over the course of 72 remarkable hours changed the lives of six patients:  

  • A 56-year-old man received a heart
  • A 54-year-old man received a liver
  • A 63-year-old woman received a kidney and pancreas
  • A 57-year-old man received a kidney
  • A 70-year-old man received a lung
  • A 37-year-old man received the world's most comprehensive face transplant

Those gathered tonight heard the story of the incredible chain of events last March when a 21-year-old man was struck by a car while crossing the street, then airlifted to Shock Trauma after on-scene care by the EMS team.  Upon arrival, dozens of medical experts worked in tandem to give the patient the best chance at survival until it was determined that he had sustained a non-survivable brain injury.  Working with partners at The Living Legacy Foundation, the region's organ procurement organization, the young man's family made the decision to honor their son's history of helping others by donating his organs.     

"This evening we thanked more than 90 heroes involved in the remarkable story shared tonight, but they also represent the over 8,600 patients that Shock Trauma cared for over the last year, and the hundreds of dedicated EMS and medical staff that make up Maryland's highly coordinated trauma system," said Thomas M. Scalea, M.D., Physician-in-Chief, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, and the Francis X. Kelly Professor of Trauma Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Once a year, we take this special night to remind our supporters and the citizens of Maryland that when life is on the line, we are here for them, and we need their continued support as we move to complete the expansion of our one-of-a-kind critical care facility," said Scalea.

Present at tonight's Gala were the family of the donor and five of the six organ recipients, including Richard Lee Norris, who underwent the face transplant.  The Gala marked the first time that Norris was able to publicly address and thank the people responsible for transforming his life after a devastating facial injury more than 15 years ago. 

Norris' historic 36-hour full face transplant took place at Shock Trauma and was based on over 10 years of research at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine and Medical Center (UMMC).

Funds raised at the Gala are part of an ongoing campaign to support the new Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower, scheduled for completion later in 2013.  The current trauma center opened in 1989 with a capacity for serving 3,500 patients each year, but now serves more than 8,600 annually. The new facility will also allow greater capacity for accepting transfers of patients with complex cases who can benefit from UMMC's expertise in time-sensitive critical care medicine.  The capital campaign that began three years ago now has received several donations of a million dollars or more, most recently from Edward St. John, founder and chairman of St. John Properties, Inc. and George Doetsch, Jr., chairman of Apple Ford Lincoln. 

"We are enormously grateful to Ed and George for their generous investment in Shock Trauma, which will help secure the safety net that gives thousands of us in Maryland the very best chance when unexpected critical illness or injury happens," said Senator Francis X. Kelly, chairman, Shock Trauma Board of Visitors.

To learn how you can support Shock Trauma, visit:

About the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center

The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center was the first fully integrated trauma center in the world, and remains at the epicenter for trauma research, patient care, and teaching, both nationally and internationally today.  Shock Trauma is where the "golden hour" concept of trauma was born and where many of the life-saving practices in modern trauma medicine were pioneered. Shock Trauma is also at the heart of Maryland's unparalleled Emergency Medical Service System. 

About the University of Maryland Medical Center

The University of Maryland Medical Center is an 800-bed teaching hospital in Baltimore and the flagship institution of the 12-hospital University of Maryland Medical System. As a national and regional referral center for trauma, cancer care, neurocare, cardiac care, women's and children's health and physical rehabilitation, UMMC treats patients who are referred nationally and regionally for expertise in time-sensitive critical care medicine. UMMC also has one of the largest solid organ transplant programs in the country, performing 443 abdominal and thoracic transplants in 2012. All physicians on staff at the Medical Center are faculty physicians of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

SOURCE University of Maryland Medical Center