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Teen reunites with life-saving healthcare team and technology

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Brownstown teen who was almost killed in a crash two months ago, recently reunited with the healthcare workers who saved his life.

(Photo of Brandon Stuckwish)

The doctors at IU Health Methodist Hospital said they used a new technology for the first time and that’s what made the difference for 17-year-old Brandon Stuckwish. Now they hope his story helps save even more lives. Now, every step Brandon takes as he walks to the hospital, even amazes his doctors.

“You look great!” said Dr. Ashley Meagher, MDMPH assistant professor of Surgery, as she saw Brandon for the first time since July.

(Photo of Brandon Stuckwish with doctor

The last time she saw him, Brandon was bound to a hospital bed and wheelchair. So this reunion is special.

“God gave me a second chance,” said Brandon.

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Brandon’s mom, Kelli Jo Stuckwish, agrees.

“That’s all I can say, it’s a miracle,” said Kelli Jo.

That’s because back in July, Brandon got in a serious crash near Seymour.

“His truck flipped five times and he was ejected,” said Kelli Jo. “He had actually coded three times at the scene.”

Brandon was airlifted to IU Health Methodist Hospital and was losing a lot of blood. That’s where Dr. Meagher took over.

“He had cuts on his scalp, he had arm fractures, he had rib fractures, his pelvis and spine were broken and so were his legs. So he really had injuries from head to foot,” said Dr. Meagher.

The medical team needed time to assess Brandon’s injuries, but couldn’t risk him bleeding out. So, they tried something new.

“We used a technology called REBOA and placed the catheter into his aorta to let us give him more blood and kind of catch up and manage while we figured out what was going on with him,” said Dr. Meagher. “So REBOA stands for endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta. So that is where we stick a catheter into the groin, the femoral artery, we pass a balloon up it. So similar to a cardiac catheterization procedure but this catheter has a balloon and you can inflate the balloon and block the blood flow coming from the heart to the body.”

The balloon controls the bleeding, buying doctors the time they need to assess the injuries. Brandon’s medical team said that the large cut on his leg made him the right, first-person for the new technology.

“The right patient at the right time is kind of, all of the pieces have to come together for it to work out perfectly,” said Jessica Hall, the registered nurse on the surgical trauma unit that cared for Brandon.

REBOA – IU Health

Now the health team is thrilled to see Brandon back on his feet, sporting his community’s motto of Stuckwish-strong. And it’s his wish is that the medical team helps even more people this same way.

“That means it is going to work for other people. Help save more lives,” said Brandon.

It’s a bit of medical history, Brandon said he’s blessed to be a part of.

“From all my injuries and I am walking in two months. It is definitely a miracle,” said Brandon.

Brandon is not stopping with walking and plans to make a full recovery. His healthcare team is confident he can do it.

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