Natividad Medical Center Trauma Center Patient Story – The Walker Family Available For Interviews

  • July 30, 2015

John Walker doesn’t remember a lot about what happened to him on April 15, when he was brought to Natividad Medical Center Trauma Center in Salinas by CALSTAR helicopter.

But he clearly remembers the care and treatment he received from the staff at Natividad.

“I don’t remember a lot. AFTER I hit the ground, I was lucky enough to have an off-duty paramedic stabilize me, call 911, get me to Watsonville Hospital and airlift me to Natividad,” said the 65-year-old, who was bicycling with friends, hit a bump, lost control and crashed.

John was unable to move his arms or legs at the scene and at Natividad required surgery to his spine as a result of a cervical spine fracture and spinal cord injury.

His wife Mary recalls getting the phone call about John’s accident while she was getting her hair done in Capitola.

“I was shocked, totally unprepared for that phone call,” Mary says. “It started with the woman who called from Natividad. She did an amazing job of reassurance, calm and factual. I drove to Natividad and I thought everybody did an amazing job of helping.”

John and Mary have nothing but praise for the doctors and nurses who cared for them while at Natividad.

“The doctors were fantastic,” said John. “Dr. Mohsin Shah was unbelievable! He is a neurosurgeon, trauma surgeon and psychiatrist. We love him. He sets the gold standard for doctor’s service. And the first neurosurgeon we saw, Dr. Christopher Carver, was also excellent.”
 Mary said that she was in such shock at the time that much of the information she was given was going over her head, so she asked Dr. Carver to call a family friend and to explain what was going on with John.

“I asked Dr. Carver to call our friend who is a doctor. He had no problem,” she says. “He got on the phone, called our friend, spoke to him and helped me clearly understand what we were up against. The support system at the hospital was incredible.”

Throughout their ordeal, John and Mary came to feel a kinship with the staff.

 “We have a great fondness for the staff,” they said. “We love Trish from ICU.  One her day off from the hospital she lead a nurses support group. The entire staff always made us feel like they had time for us, were very responsive and always made us feel important.”

Walker was discharged April 23 from Natividad to Dominican Hospital for three weeks of rehab, then released May 14 to begin another few weeks of in-home care, followed by outpatient physical therapy.

Despite his horrific crash and the trauma and turmoil that followed, John was able to retain his sense of humor.

“When Dr. Carver asked me at Natividad if I was allergic to anything I remember saying, ‘I am allergic to asphalt!’ Still had my sense of humor,” John says. “ When someone asked me what hurt and all I could think of was my pride!”