One March day, Phillip (Phil) Banks, Sr. was involved in a high-speed motorcycle accident on Transmountain Road. He hit a retainer wall, sending the bike 200 feet across traffic. Phil was catapulted about ten feet into the air, spinning like a helicopter blade before hitting the side of the mountain, 50 feet away. The 51-year-old was transported to University Medical Center of El Paso.
Phil admitted to UMC – El Paso’s intensive care unit as a Level I trauma. Phil became hemodynamically unstable, and physicians found he had an open-book pelvic fracture with significant injuries. An open-book pelvic fracture can be life-threatening due to the large arteries and veins present in that area. Physicians placed a pelvic binder to stabilize the injury, followed by an external fixator. Initially quite hypotensive, Phil also received 25 blood transfusions.
Two days later, Phil had a near-death experience when his situation became more complicated. In 2003, Phil donated a kidney to his older brother. Due to a Grade III right renal laceration, Phil went into acute renal failure with rhabdomyolysis. His kidney was failing. Muscle tissue had broken down, causing muscle fiber contents to enter his bloodstream. Doctors placed Phil in a medically-induced coma for three weeks and administered acute hemodialysis CRRT.
During this time, Phil underwent additional procedures. The external fixator was removed, replaced by an internal fixation. Other fractures were repaired, including another internal fixation, this time of the left tibia. A wound VAC was placed for his pretibial wound. Renal dose heparin was administered to treat a pulmonary embolism.
Phil also required treatment for nutritional depletion. For the first six days of his stay, Phil was NPO, meaning “nothing by mouth.” He was placed on TPN, and followed by a dietitian during his stay. To address significant pain, Phil was started on methadone.
Jumping out of planes: Life before the accident
Prior to the motorcycle accident, Phil worked as a supply technician, as a contractor working with the military. The military has been a big part of Phil’s life. Several years before the accident, he served as a U.S. Army Paratrooper, including an assignment to the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault. Such a career doesn’t come without its share of health hazards, of which he was no stranger. Phil had previously sustained multilevel vertebral compression fractures. A total of eight reconstructive surgeries were performed on his spine. To address severe pain, doctors placed a spinal stimulator.
After the accident, pain treatment became somewhat complicated due to Phil’s kidney issues. Additionally, his wife notes some memory issues, as well as confusion and high irritability.
Ready for rehabilitation
After a month at University Medical Center, Phil had stabilized enough to begin rehabilitation. He transferred to Highlands Rehabilitation Hospital for the next stage of his recovery. At Highlands, his wounds continued to heal and he engaged in three hours of therapy per day. Phil made great progress in regaining his physical ability.
“The care at Highlands was excellent,” Phil stated. He would like to thank Rick and the wound care team, as well as Claudia (OT), Eric and Steve (PT), Hector (ST), and the entire staff. “They were extremely helpful, friendly, and professional and did an amazing job. I had many broken bones, lacerations, partial finger amputation, loss of muscle. The Highlands staff were an asset to my on-going recovery!”
Phil continues his recovery as an outpatient. “My recovery has been great,” he added. “It’s the reason why I keep coming back for outpatient car right now. They know my history and what I am able to do physically.”