San Bernardino, CA (PRWEB) August 21, 2013
San Bernardino County Sheriff Deputy Alex Collins and his wife Lila recognized a team of physicians and nurses from Loma Linda University Medical Center during the captain’s meeting at the Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday, August 7. Sheriff John McMahon along with the department’s captains, sergeants, lieutenants and a handful of deputies as well as Deputy Collins’ family filled the conference room.
“Everyone in this packed room has affected me in my recovery in some way,” Deputy Collins said, flaunting his full uniform for one of the first times since the deadly shootout that occurred in Big Bear on February 12, 2013. “I can never repay everyone for all that was done for me, and these awards are just a small token of my appreciation.”
Just shy of six months since he was wounded in the fatal gun battle broadcasted across the nation, Deputy Collins appeared physically unaffected by the wounds that had impaired him. He attributes his recovery to the skilled team of physicians and nurses who immediately took action.
Dr. Lorra Sharp, an orthopaedic trauma surgeon, treated injuries that affected Collins’ left leg. “Dr. Sharp put my family at ease when I was first brought in,” Collins said. “She took this personally, and I am walking because of her.”
Dr. Saif Zaman, an orthopaedic surgery resident, monitored Collins’ leg injury during his stay at the hospital. “My wife must have asked him a thousand questions, and he did his best to answer every single one.”
During the shootout, Deputy Collins suffered a gunshot wound to the right side of his face. Although serious at the time, Collins made light of the injury saying, “Thanks to Dr. Herford, I think I look better now than before I got shot.” Dr. Alan Herford was the oral and maxillofacial surgeon who gave Deputy Collins the ability to smile again. “Thank you so much for the awesome work you and your team have done.”
Dr. Barth Riedel, an orthopaedic surgeon who treated Collins’ arm, and Dr. Justin Weaver, an oral and maxillofacial resident who worked with Dr. Herford, were also recognized at the event but were unable to attend.
A special thank you was given to Connie Cunningham, executive director of LLUMC Emergency Department, and Michael May, adult trauma coordinator for LLUMC. “Connie and Michael were some of the first people I encountered at the hospital, and I still talk to them on a regular basis,” Lila said. “Connie set me up with everything I needed at the hospital, including a crib for our son.” Benjamin Collins was just three weeks old at the time of the incident. “Connie even came and did a walkthrough at our house and helped prepare us for Alex's homecoming.”
Lila continued, “Michael got me anything I needed—I texted him and he was there. It was so comforting knowing I could count on them. They were our spark during such a dark time.”
“We hope and pray that our paths never cross with the brave men and women of law enforcement,” said Ms. Cunningham after the event. “But if they do, we will always be there and give nothing but the best care we can provide. Alex was out there serving and protecting us when he got injured, and it is our job to get him back in his uniform so he can continue to do his job. He is a true hero, and it was an honor to be part of his care and recovery.”
Deputy Collins, who is expected to return to work in September, and his wife extended their gratitude to everyone at LLUMC who had—and continue to have—a hand in his recovery. "There are countless nurses and hospital staff that went above and beyond their call of duty to make our experience what it was and what it continues to be. We are forever grateful to each and everyone of you, and you will always hold a special place in our hearts."
Finally, Deputies Danny Rosa and Larry Lopez received recognition for risking their lives when they pulled Deputy Collins to safety at the scene of the incident prior to being airlifted to LLUMC. The medical transport team that treated Dep. Collins while en route to LLUMC, as well as the team of deputies that took shifts being at his bedside when his family was unable to do so were also recognized with an award. “From the bottom of our hearts, we thank them,” said Lila of the service and dedication she and her husband received.
PHOTO CAPTION: Deputy Alex Collins and his wife shared a special moment with his clinical care team from LLUMC during the Captain’s meeting at San Bernardino County Sheriff Department on Wednesday, August 7. From left to right: Dr. Alan Herford, Michael May, Dr. Lorra Sharp, Dep. Alex Collins, Lila Collins, Connie Cunningham, Dr. Saif Zaman and Sheriff John McMahon.
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About Loma Linda University Health (LLUH)
Loma Linda University Health includes Loma Linda University's eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center's six hospitals and more than 900 faculty physicians located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Established in 1905, LLUH is a global leader in education, research and clinical care. It offers over 100 academic programs and provides quality health care to 40,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients each year. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, LLUH is a faith-based health system with a mission "to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ."