By Kathy Walsh
DENVER (CBS4) – UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital is now a Level 1 trauma center. It is the fifth hospital in Colorado to attain that designation.
It means UCHealth can treat some of the most severe and complex injuries. The hospital has around-the-clock coverage by trauma surgeons and the availability of many specialists to handle injuries caused by gunshot wounds, stabbings, car crashes, falls and even a jump from a burning building.
“Do I want to live or do I want to die?” Alina Miller asked herself on Aug.6, 2012.
She had seconds to decide. An arsonist set fire to her Aurora apartment building. Her hallway was engulfed in flames.
“My bedroom was already filling with smoke,” Alina said. “I knew that if I waited, if I tried to wait for firefighters, I wasn’t going to make it because the smoke was so thick.”
Alina jumped from the window of her fourth floor apartment.
“It was instantaneous overwhelming pain,” she told CBS4’s Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
Her back was broken along with her heel and the toes on her right foot. Her left foot was worse.
“I was told it was like a potato chip, a crushed potato chip,” she said.
Alina was rushed to University of Colorado Hospital. Over the next four years, she was in and out with eight surgeries, infections, and excruciating pain in her left leg. In 2016, she had it amputated.
“At no point have I regretted it. I knew it was time to say goodbye to that leg,” she said.
Now, Alina is happily married. She tries all sorts of sports. She attributes much of her recovery to the staff at UCHealth.
“So many working pieces working together to make me well again,” Alina said.
She is delighted that the hospital is now a Level 1 trauma center.
“This designation is proof of what they’ve been doing all along is incredible trauma care,” she said.
Alina lost a leg, but gained a profession. She works at Creative Technology Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions helping other people who have lost limbs.