Englewood resident Lee Brooke was on a hunting trip in Wyoming in 2016 when a bear attacked him and — after a brutal fight — left him with a broken shoulder, a crushed arm, five holes in his leg …
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Englewood resident Lee Brooke was on a hunting trip in Wyoming in 2016 when a bear attacked him and — after a brutal fight — left him with a broken shoulder, a crushed arm, five holes in his leg and no nose.
After two hours of yelling for help, he was rescued and transported by helicopter to Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, where the medical staff worked tirelessly to put him back together.
Brooke, who has since returned to his job as an electrician, attended Swedish Medical Center's second annual National Trauma Survivors Day on May 13. The event was held as a way to reunite trauma survivors with first responders, physicians, nurses and caregivers. Over five survivors shared their stories and thanked those who helped nurse them back to health.
"We don't get a chance to say thank you, and that's all I want to do. They are totally professional, and they become our family," said Brooke, who was retrieving the elk he had killed when the bear attacked him. As the bear bit him, he repeatedly stabbed it until the animal lumbered away. His brother-in-law, who found him, also found Brooke's nose.
“It's really humbling to see what we do every day can impact someone on the longterm, and how even years later we can continue to help them heal,” said Missy Sorensen, Swedish's trauma performance improvement coordinator.
Among the others at National Trauma Survivors Day was 20-year-old Edgar Castaneda, who said he was driving impaired last July when he crashed into a concrete wall. The accident broke his leg, punctured his organs and forced him to spend 128 days in the hospital after 25 surgeries.
Castaneda, an Aurora resident, has played professional baseball in Puerto Rico since he was 18 — and he is planning on returning to the game next year.
“I love my life so much and everything (Swedish Medical Center) has done for me," he said. "They never let me go, and I'm so thankful.”
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