Angel Alvarez

Present-day Ryder Trauma Center is internationally renowned for its state-of-the-art trauma care, and consists of a variety of facilities that have trained healthcare professionals spanning from eager medical residents to surgical military personnel preparing to go into battle.

What many may not know, however, is that before the trauma center opened its doors in 1992, the service was far from the goliath that it is today. More than 25 years ago, it was comprised of a trauma intensive care and burn intensive care unit. Both were located on the second floor as they continue to be today. Those of us who were on the team early on fondly look back at those “simpler” times, and remember going to great lengths, figuratively and literally, to care for our patients.

One of the most memorable parts of the job was taking the trip down the dark second-floor walkway, which took you from Jackson Memorial Hospital’s West Wing 8, down to the second floor, and across. There was no signage on how to get to the trauma service in those days, and we always joked about leaving a bread crumb trail to find our way back. One of our residents even measured the distance, and jokingly told us it was a half-a-mile walk. I don’t think he was far off.

Like the aforementioned, there are many fond memories that have taken place down Ryder Trauma’s long hallways. So many unforgettable patients and families have come and gone. Over the years, many have come back to visit and have called to check in. They’re all incredibly grateful for everything that the trauma staff has done for them– and we are incredibly proud to see them thriving in their lives.

For many, it’s hard to see past the shocking, and in some cases disturbing, scenarios that our patients at Ryder Trauma experience. However, once you look deeper, you see the humanity and the goodness in those who are being cared for and the caregivers themselves.

It’s the coming together of people who may not have anything in common, speak different languages, are socially and economically as far apart as one can imagine, to support each other. Working in Ryder Trauma has given me the privilege to see and experience the best of mankind.