DALLAS - A Parkland Hospital ER nurse is celebrating a milestone with the people who saved her life six years ago.
Savannah Fortner nearly died in a head-on car crash. But after a long, painful recovery, she's sharing her story to help other trauma survivors.
Monday marked a year since Fortner became a Parkland nurse. If anyone can relate to what a trauma patient experiences, it's her.
The 26-year-old nurse knows pain.
“For me to be here is quite the miracle,” she said. “I had a diaphragm rupture as well as some internal bleeding.”
Fortner knows the frustration of rehabbing from multiple broken bones and surgeries and understands the questions that come with prominent scars.
“I remember that there were days where I would just wake up and I would just cry,” she recalled. “And I remember thinking, ‘I don't want to do this today.’”
The head-on crash on July 3, 2012, changed everything.
“I woke up as they were using the jaws of life to get my door off to get me out,” she recalled.
Fortner spent a month as a Parkland patient in ICU and then the trauma unit. Her daughter was two years old at the time. The care she received changed the course of her life. She enrolled in nursing school. Six years later, she’s working in the same place that treated her. She says surviving the crash makes her a better nurse.
“To be able to know like you are in pain and you are hurting and you have to think about what they are going through,” she said. “So it does give you a different perspective for sure.”
Fortner is a living testament that trauma doesn't have to rob you of your life — no matter how painful and difficult recovery can be — as long as there are compassionate people like the ones she had by her side.
“They never complained, they never batted an eye. It was nothing for them,” she said. “And I just remember thinking, ‘I want to do someday for somebody what these people are doing for me.’”