The night Madison was finalizing plans to go to Texas Tech University, she was in a life-threatening car wreck. Madison would have three brain surgeries within 24 hours. From relearning her ABCs to now attending college, she and her parents thank Seton’s Level 1 Trauma Center – which will make its new home at Dell Seton Medical Center at UT – for her amazing recovery.

The News Every Parent Fears

While hanging out at her house, Madison and three friends decided to make a quick run for milkshakes. But they didn’t travel more than two miles when their car was T-boned by another at 75 miles per hour. The girls’ car was crushed, shattered.

Madison suffered the most critical injury – severe brain trauma. Her mom Lori, who works at University Medical Center Brackenridge where Madison and the girls were transported, was the first to get the shocking news.

Lori recalls, “I got a call from the hospital’s social worker who said that Madison was unconscious and that we needed to get to the hospital right away.” The fear was overwhelming. Once there, Lori and husband James signed consents for surgery to save their 18-year-old daughter’s life.

Local Life-Savers

“With brain injuries, we often treat what we call the second accident,” says Seton neurosurgeon Dr. James Rose. “Secondary injuries such as blood clots and swelling occur, and in Madison’s case, as soon as we removed one clot another would form. She had three surgeries within 24 hours.”

For the next two weeks, Madison’s parents and brother Bradley lived at the hospital. They watched her respirator, cranial pressure, heart rate – hoping and praying for signs of progress. Then their prayers were answered.

Her dad recalls the moment. “One morning, just like every morning, the nurse was testing her ability to follow commands. She said ‘give me two fingers up’ and Madison clearly moved two fingers. It was just incredible after that.” Lori raced to Madison’s side and found her already sitting up. “Madison gave me a hug and I then knew she was going to be okay.”

“I don’t remember anything about the hospital other than walking down the hallway with my physical therapist,” says Madison. “I would have speech, physical and occupational therapy every day.” The aphasia – not being able to find the right words – was the hardest part.”

To help with her recovery, Madison got a new puppy that she named Gracie Rose. Gracie stands for the grace of God and Rose for Dr. Rose whose hands repaired her injuries.

Looking Back with Gratitude

“The care was incredible. Not only did they care for Madison, but they also took care of Lori and me and encouraged us when we got down,” recalls James. “We are very fortunate to live in a city that has a trauma center to take care of folks like Madison. When you need it, it’s there.”

Lori agrees, “It’s incredible. They have the ability to make people whole again.”

This fall, Madison’s dream came true. She began her first semester as a Texas Tech Red Raider. And she’s already received the honor of Outstanding Freshman from her sorority.

“I wish I remembered all the doctors and nurses who cared for me, but I am thankful for how far I’ve come in a year. That’s all thanks to them.”

Watch Madison’s Story

Your Gifts Will Save Lives

You can help save lives like Madison’s by supporting Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas – the new home for adult Level 1 trauma care. Make a gift today.