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Lucky to be Alive: How Regional One Health Saved One Man’s Life

“I’m very grateful my accident happened in Memphis. If I would have been anywhere else, I might not have been able to get to Regional One Health where they saved my life.”

Phil Barbee

“It was like something out of an action movie,” Phil Barbee says, reflecting on his car accident. Phil was driving in the northbound lane of 385, so that he could catch I-40 back home to Nashville, when he saw a large Dodge pickup truck go off the road in the southbound lane. He didn’t realize what was about to happen until it was too late.

A few seconds later, he saw the truck come up the median and go airborne. “It was kind of surreal,” Phil says now.

The truck landed directly in front of his car. Even though Phil swerved, there was nothing he could do. “I knew he was going to hit me,” he says. Phil’s car slid about 100 yards into the grass before stopping. “I was conscious the whole time, but I couldn’t see anything because the airbags had deployed,” he says.

“There was smoke, and I was afraid the car would catch fire,” Phil says. “I just wanted to get out of the car, but my leg was pinned.” He had debris in his lap, and his face felt gritty from the powder in the airbag and shards of broken glass. He saw his phone lying in the front seat, and he knew he needed to call his wife, Kathy. Luckily, the Bluetooth system in the car still worked. Phil was still trying to tell his wife what happened when an off-duty police officer arrived on the scene. 

“He asked me if I knew my name, if I knew where I was, and if I could remember what happened,” Phil says. “He talked to me until the EMTs got there.” Once the EMTs arrived, they tried to use the Jaws of Life to get Phil out of the car, but it wasn’t working. Finally, they slid a board down his back, and pulled him out through the backseat. “While I was grateful they found a way to get me out, the pain was excruciating,” Phil says.

On the way to the Elvis Presley Trauma Center at Regional One Health, Phil kept thinking about his plans for that day. “I just kept thinking, ‘I need to cancel this tennis match,’” Phil says. “It’s funny how sane or rational you can be in that kind of situation.” He adds, “I clearly didn’t know the extent of what was wrong.” 

When Phil arrived at the Elvis Presley Trauma Center, they found that his sciatica nerve was broken, his femur was dislocated from his hip, and the hip socket needed to be completely rebuilt.

“The nurses really take a personal interest in their patients at Regional One Health,” Phil says, “and they really care. They were very accommodating to my wife, making sure that she was comfortable since she would not leave my side.”

The doctors were able to get Phil into surgery quickly to rebuild his hip socket, and now, he’s back home in Nashville. He’s on the mend and doing quite well, and expected to be off crutches soon.

“I’m very grateful my accident happened in Memphis. If I would have been anywhere else, I might not have been able to get to Regional One Health where they saved my life,” Phil says. 

You can help save lives like Phil's by supporting the life saving work that takes place every day at the Elvis Presley Trauma Center.

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