Like most 19-year-olds, Arthur Thomas loves to hang out with friends. In April 2012, what should have been a typical evening took an ill-fated turn when he and his best friend sat on the hood of a car with another friend at the wheel. Without warning, the driver put her foot on the accelerator and sped off. Arthur flew off the hood, and landed hard in a ditch.
“I could hear people talking, but I couldn’t see them,” he says. His worried friends called an ambulance.
Arthur’s mother, Alecia Beaudoin, a health information management clerk at Harris Health Martin Luther King Jr. Health Center, was asleep when the call came. She recognized her work number on the phone, and knew it wasn’t good news. Her thoughts immediately went to Arthur. True to her fears, the call was from concerned staff at Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital Trauma Center reporting her son had been in an accident.
“It was scary to get the call and then arrive at the hospital to see Arthur with his whole right side bandaged,” Alecia remembers. “His face and head were so swollen that his eyes were shut. They were worried about blood around his brain and thought he might need surgery.”
Arthur stayed in Neuro ICU for two nights for observation. After a series of MRIs, doctors determined that surgery would not be necessary.
“The care was great,” Alecia says. “Everyone was very nice and helpful. They kept us informed every step of the way.”
Arthur still deals with lingering complications from the accident. Focusing is difficult, and he is often confused. A strong math student, he sometimes has problems with computations and can be prone to mood swings.
Nowadays, Alecia and Arthur share the same opinion of horseplay—it can be dangerous—and encourage his peers to be careful. Arthur takes it a step further: “Choose your friends wisely. Don’t hang out with people who do stupid things. Be safe, and always buckle up.”