Meredith Koch.

Meredith Koch doesn’t remember turning 25 years-old. She marked her quarter-century birthday in an operating room at The University of Vermont Medical Center. Why? An upright piano she was helping to move out of the back of a pick-up truck crushed her with hundreds of pounds of force.

A Seven-Hour Surgery

When she realized she couldn’t feel anything below her waist, Koch, an EMT with years of experience, knew she was very seriously injured. She was transported as a trauma code to the UVM Medical Center Emergency Department. The OR team, led by orthopaedic surgeon David Lunardini, MD, went to work. Seven and a half hours later, the surgery the team had replaced her shattered vertebrae, and implanted two titanium rods and a steel cage to help correct the deformity and stabilize her spine.

Koch credits her recovery to the team at the UVM Medical Center – everyone from the first responders, to the nursing staff, to the medical resident who helped her choose the best ice pop flavors. Then there were the physicians who provided outstanding care and so much more, including Margaret Tandoh, MD, the trauma attending who established a deep and meaningful rapport with her family. Dr. Lunardini was also a constant presence at her bedside.

A Gift to Honor Nurses

In honor of the nurses who aided in Koch’s recovery, her family made a gift to critical care nursing initiatives and education at the UVM Medical Center, helping to fund a critical care nursing education symposium.

For her 26th birthday – along with a relay team of people who had played key roles in her recovery, including Dr. Lunardini – Koch, aided by crutches and orthotic braces, walked a leg in the Vermont City Marathon.

Learn more about Orthopedic Care at the UVM Medical Center. 

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