Security guard wounded in FedEx shooting released from hospital - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Security guard wounded in FedEx shooting released from hospital

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MARIETTA, GA (CBS46) -

Christopher Sparkman spent 73 days in the hospital, took 21 trips to the operating room, and has suffered more than many of us will in our lives.

Sparkman was shot in the stomach with a shotgun on April 29. The damage was extensive and he owes his life to the men and women who made up his trauma team.

Laura Garlow oversees the trauma program at Wellstar Kennestone Regional Medical Center in Marietta. She says the nurses and doctors who provide trauma care are happy to see Sparkman recovering.

Being a trauma team member is no easy task, according to Garlow.

"It's very difficult work. It's intellectually challenging. It's physically challenging. It's emotionally and spiritually challenging," said Garlow. "Not everybody can do this kind of work."

Those that can have to be on their game all the time. And even when they are, the emotional strain can be great.

"Trauma care can be very stressful because this may be your wife; or your husband; or your brother. And we want to do the very best we can for that patient. And to see your face every day and know that this may not be a good outcome, and we're the ones to have to tell you that, it can be very difficult at times," said Garlow.

When a patient first comes into the trauma center, the activity can only be described as controlled chaos. As the hours pass, and the immediate danger subsides, it becomes a waiting game.

Trauma nurses and doctors need to have patience, and give the body time to heal, explained Garlow.

But as the days turn into weeks and the patient gets closer to leaving, surprisingly, doctors and nurses become anxious.

According to Garlow, trauma care is complex with many moving parts. The trauma doctor acts as the captain of the team and has to coordinate all the care the patient will receive. As the patient gets closer to the point of being able to leave the hospital, they can only hope that all of the pieces fall into place.

Yet at the same time, those doctors and nurses are excited for the patient.

"There's no better feeling than to have your patient discharged to the loving arms of their family; to walk out of the hospital under their own power; or to get out of that wheelchair and walk to their car and get in and put their seat belt on and drive home," said Garlow. "That's why we do what we do."

Thursday, Sparkman walked out of Kennestone under his own power.

He will continue his recovery at home. In six to seven months, he is scheduled to have his final operation.

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