Art, medicine merge in patient care> 59th Medical Wing> Post Display
In January 2021, Army Sgt. 1st Class Randolph Adams was on leave in Chicago, Ill., Before leaving for his next posting. The next chapter in Adams’ career was to take place with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany, and this visit to Chicago provided an opportunity to reconnect with family before moving over 4,000 miles.
Adams left town after enlisting in the military after several visits to a Military Entrance Processing Station, or MEPS, there.
“Chicago was a tough place for me growing up,” Adams shared. “My family struggled – we had been evicted, I had moved from place to place, had been homeless several times in my life. I was homeless when I joined the army.
At MEPS, he spoke to recruiters from each branch. Anxious to leave Chicago, he enlisted in the military after discovering it was his fastest way to start a new life. Now, almost 16 years after joining, Adams was back in Chicago and visiting family like many servicemen do before a permanent change of station.
Neither Adams nor those close to him had a way to predict his vacation would end when he woke up at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston, Texas, without remembering how he got there. .
“I was leaving a relative’s house one evening and on my way to my car when two men approached me,” Adams said. ” I was attacked. I was beaten up quite a bit and lost a lot of blood.
After the attack, Adams sought medical treatment at a local emergency room.
“I had really big lacerations under my left eye and bruising and swelling around my face,” he said. “[The medical providers] gave me stitches and pain relievers and sent me home. “
The last thing Adam remembers is going back to his mother’s house and lying down to rest. Everything he now knows about that fateful night was told to him by people who were there.
Adams’ mother went to see him later that night, he was unresponsive. Her face was blue and her fingernails had turned purple. His mother called 911 and he was rushed to a second hospital in Chicago.
“They hooked me up to a lot of machines and one thing I remember is going in and out of consciousness and seeing bright lights and brush around me,” he said. “Honestly, I thought I had moved on to the next life.”
The care he received in this second hospital was essential in stabilizing him.
“In fact, they saved my life,” he says. “They stabilized me and got my organs back to working order.”
Meanwhile, the military transferred Adams to BAMC for a continuum of care where he regained consciousness after being in a coma for nearly a month. While unconscious, he suffered multiple organ failures, including his heart, kidneys and lungs, in addition to contracting an infection that spread throughout his body causing trauma. important to the features of his face.
Since the attack, Adams has received numerous treatments from surgeons, speech therapists, psychologists, ophthalmologists and more to improve his quality of life.
With a mix of science, technology and art, several contributors to the San Antonio military health system were able to create a facial prosthesis that Adams said is a “game changer” for him.
In September, Adams traveled to the Air Force Post Graduate Dental School for an appointment with U.S. Army Maj. (Dr.) Steven Handel, a maxillofacial prosthodontist, who is fitting Adams with his new facial prosthesis. who, according to Adams, is a “game changer”. ”.
“Pressure masks are commonly used to reduce edema or swelling in burn patients,” Handel said. “For Adams, we added facial contours to make it anatomical.”
Adams received several compression masks throughout his treatment plan, each one more like his preoperative anatomy and who he is.
While a lot has changed for him since that January night, one thing remains the same: his love for being a soldier.
“Right now, my focus is on getting back to work,” Adams said.