Be patient…you can get back on your feet again if you try every day. Keep working!” Jaime said with gusto. “That’s what I keep telling myself. My family reminds me that they said goodbye to me after my injury because they thought I wasn’t going to survive. I’m thankful I woke up and am still here."

Jaime Close-Up

Jaime's recovery story - beating the odds

October 31st started out like any other day for 37-year-old Jaime. But the events of that day changed his life forever. Jaime was assaulted outside of a local grocery store where he worked. He sustained a severe Traumatic Brain Injury along with multiple facial fractures.

Jaime was rushed to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) where he underwent emergency surgery to remove bleeding and pressure upon the brain. He was not expected to survive. Due to the severity and extent of his injuries, his family was notified that they should come say goodbye. His family prayed for a miracle. Through the extensive efforts of our emergency and neurosurgery teams, their prayers began to come true.

After brain surgery, Jaime’s health and chances of survival improved. Jaime was admitted to the SCVMC Respiratory Rehabilitation Unit for management of his respiratory needs and to start early therapy treatments. He had to breathe through a tracheostomy and was fed through a tube to his stomach. Jaime was still confused and had difficulty with his memory and communication. He was dependent on others for his mobility and care.

As his breathing and health improved, he was admitted into the Rehabilitation Department’s Journey to Recovery Program designed for those with severe brain injuries and a disorder of consciousness. At first, Jaime was unable to walk, talk, eat, or care for himself. He was immediately put in the care of a Rehabilitation Team including doctors, nurses, physical, speech, and occupational therapists, a social worker, a psychologist, and a case manager. Jaime’s arousal improved and he quickly responded to his care. He began to consistently follow commands and was able to transition to standard acute rehabilitation.

While on the Acute Rehabilitation Unit, Jaime participated in three hours of therapy daily. His therapists focused on helping him relearn how to walk, talk, think, and eat. Jaime was resilient and determined to make progress. He put in countless hours of effort, all with a smile on his face. During his rehabilitation, he went from needing multiple people to help him out of bed and into a wheelchair, to being able to nearly stand and walk on his own.  

“We have a compassionate rehabilitation team with expertise and experience,” says Dr. Henry Huie, Chief of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation. “Our physicians are all brain injury medicine board certified, and our therapists and nurses also have specialty training to be certified in brain injury care.”

Jaime and his family are very thankful for everything the team brought to his recovery. Jaime really connected with his recreational therapist, Heather. Heather discovered Jaime’s love of donuts and basketball; both of which motivated Jaime to work hard. Heather shared Jaime’s interests with the rest of the team and one day, the physical therapist brought donuts as a surprise treat for Jaime and the team. Now able to eat regular food, Jaime was overjoyed to enjoy the glazed treat.   

“At first, we were scared because we thought Jaime was not going to make it. But when the neurosurgery team performed surgery and Jaime was transferred to the Rehab Unit, we started to have hope again. The whole Rehabilitation Team was so helpful to Jaime,” his sister, Sophia, shared.

Now, Jaime lives alone with a caregiver and can walk on his own with a walker. He gets together with his family, and they are so happy that he survived. The support that Jaime received from family and friends, combined with the expertise and encouragement from his SCVMC care team, has kept Jaime’s recovery moving forward.

Basketball Shot
Jaime with Walker
Jaime with Heather