The Thomas Sowell Story
A Grady Miracle
BY LISA M. BORDERS, MHA President, Grady health foundation
Accidents happen. There is no rhyme or reason. Chance is the enemy. And any one of us, or any one of our family members, can be a victim of a disease or a life-altering injury. Such was the case for Thomas Sowell. He endured an assault on his brain, one of the most fragile organs we possess.
pictured at the 2011 White Coat Grady Gala: Lisa Borders, Grady Health Foundation President; Thomas Sowell, former patient of Marcus Stroke AND Neuroscience Center at Grady; Pete Correll, GMHC Chairman; and Bernie Marcus, Co-Founder of The Home Depot and Philanthropist.
Thomas Sowell, a brain injury survivor and former patient of the Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center at Grady, is pictured with his family: JIM SOWELL, VIRGINIA SOWELL AND DANIEL SOWELL.
Grady team went to work on this acute, time-dependent injury as soon as Thomas arrived at the hospital. This young man was treated by Dr. Sanjay Dhall and Dr. Raul Nogueira, doctors who are specially trained to deliver neurocritical care, and the full complement medical professionals at the Stroke Center. His family was able to stay with him around the clock and friends prayed as they received daily updates from his mom through a blog. The nurses were moved every day by Thomas’ progress, but everyone was impressed when he awoke from the coma and answered doctors’ questions about the year, the city and the President. The patient was back! And the team had accomplished the most important feat – “saved brain.” Thomas was released to the Shepherd Spinal Center for rehabilitation. After lots of hard and focused work, he has made a full recovery. The Sowells remain grateful to Grady and the clinicians who saved Thomas. The Grady family is thrilled with Thomas. His journey to recover and his resilience to recapture his life is an inspiration. The clinicians who serve at Grady are grateful to Mr. Marcus and all the donors who support the community by investing in the hospital and health system.
homas is a normal teenager – a good student, a Boy Scout, an active athlete and a quiet son. Virginia and Jim Sowell offer a loving, supportive family for both their sons and worry, like most parents, about harm befalling their children. And, their youngest did encounter a real tragedy when he suffered a traumatic brain injury after a snowboarding accident during a scouting trip in North Carolina. Thomas’ parents were called and they immediately rushed to his bedside at the Asheville hospital. The news was grave: he had suffered a severe blow to his head and they were not sure what to do. Their friends in Atlanta – knowing the great work of the new Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center, made possible through a gift from Bernie Marcus, philanthropist and co-founder of The Home Depot – told them to get him to Grady, where he could receive specialized care by the finest brain doctors and benefit from the most advanced procedures and technologies in the U.S. The Sowells followed this advice and had Thomas brought to Atlanta via ambulance. He was comatose and nonresponsive; he was also heavily medicated and breathing through a tube. The
First cover of Southern Seasons Magazine Holiday/Winter 2012-13 issue on newsstands December 2012.