A competitive skier from Utah who could have died after crashing during a double back flip at the World Ski And Snowboard Festival last year credits a new technique at Vancouver General Hospital for her swift recovery from a severe brain injury.
Jamie Crane-Mauzy is the first BC patient to undergo “auto regulation monitoring,” a process that allows doctors to determine the precise oxygen and blood pressure levels in her brain.
A pair of critical care physicians, Dr. Donald Griesdale and Dr. Mypinder Sekhon, deemed Crane-Mauzy an ideal first patient for the new procedure.
After such extensive surgery at 22-years-old, was she afraid to hit the slopes, post recovery?
LISTEN: Jamie Crane-Mauzy talks perseverance, recovery and the revolutionary brain treatment she received
“I mean, honestly, for me? I wouldn’t say I was that scared because I’m a strange person, and fear doesn’t really…fear doesn’t come into me that much.”
What does the procedure entail?
Doctors drill a hole into the patient’s skull to insert catheters attached to equipment that allows for continuous, real-time measurements of oxygen and blood pressure levels in the brain.
Inappropriate fluctuations in blood flow and pressure can then be treated with medications that boost heart pumping, for example, to ensure the brain is getting enough oxygen and blood circulation.
Three dozen patients have now had the same treatment at VGH, and Crane-Mauzy says she’s unbelievably grateful to have received this kind of care. Something she was able to express to Dr. Sekhon herself a year later.
“I actually came up here for my one year anniversary [of the surgery] and he remembered me, but since I was in a coma I didn’t remember, and I just started crying. It was so emotional, like, thank you so much for saving my life. You say that to your friends, but you don’t really mean it, you actually saved my life,” she recalls.
Staying strong and inspiring others
The skiing champion says she has remained optimistic throughout her recovery, and that was the key to her success.
“I was used to setting goals and accomplishing goals, and that was a big portion of my recovery. Set one goal you know you can accomplish and just stay focused on the present moment, don’t look how far you want to go…that’s what I did and still am doing.”
Her advice to others facing adversity?
“Don’t be like ‘oh, I’m a failure, my life is miserable, my life is horrible because of this accident,’ realize how you can turn that into a benefit.”