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Success Stories

The Denver Health Level I Trauma Center cares for more than 3,000 of the region’s most severely injured patients each year and here are a few of their stories of success.

Governor Bill Ritter is Involved in a Cycling Accident

Governor Bill RitterAvid bicyclist Governor Bill Ritter says he committed the “unforgivable sin in cycling” on March 2 when he accidentally overlapped tires with the rider in front of him.

“Once our tires touched, I just went down,” said Governor Ritter, recounting his accident.

As paramedics arrived on the scene, Governor Ritter requested that they take him to Denver Health Medical Center.

“As District Attorney and as governor of the State, I have heard again and again and again about the level of care that you get at Denver Health, particularly, trauma care for people who are badly injured and come into the Emergency Room.”

Once he arrived at Denver Health, Carlton Barnett, M.D., trauma surgeon, diagnosed the Governor with six rib fractures on five different ribs and a broken sternum. The transverse processes on his vertebrae were also broken and he suffered a separated shoulder and a punctured lung.

“He did a classic shoulder roll, causing the separated shoulder and came down hard on his rib cage,” said Dr. Barnett, who describes Governor Ritter’s case as complex.

“Ribs play an important roll in helping you breathe,” said Dr. Barnett. “Breathing can be very painful when you have a fractured rib. It was important that we monitored the Governor to make sure he was taking deep breaths and not developing complications such as pneumonia.”

“My physician, Dr. Carl Barnett, was a fantastic physician; he has great skills as a physician and also a great manner,” said Governor Ritter. “It was just phenomenal to see the staff go to work, and over a period of time, do all that they could for me to get me back to a place of being healthy.”

Governor Ritter stayed at Denver Health for four days so the doctors and nurses could monitor his progress and make sure he didn’t have any respiratory complications.

“I was really fortunate that Denver Health was my destination after the bike accident. I got this phenomenal health care from Denver Health as a trauma center. Here I was hearing about that (level of care at Denver Health) for all these years and now experiencing it.”

“Quite frankly, I was so impressed with the care I received there; I now have my primary care physician treating me out of Denver Health,” said Governor Ritter.

More Great Trauma Saves

Read our recent edition of "Great Saves."


Special Publication: Denver Health Celebrates 150 Years!

Cover of the 150th Annual Report

Did you know that in 1976, Dr. Ben Eiseman and Dr. Ernest E. “Gene” Moore formalized the first trauma/surgery service in the Rocky Mountain Region? Read more on page 26 of this publication!