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Though it's an inherently dangerous occupation, Brett Baker dreamed about being a firefighter for years so he could help save lives. Baker had nearly completed a firefighter internship program when he was seriously injured in a rollover of the all-terrain vehicle he was driving.
That day in 2005, Baker found out what saving a life was all about, because UC Davis trauma surgeon Garth Utter was about to save his. Baker had lost nearly four liters of blood and was at high risk of bleeding to death. "If it had taken a few more minutes to get him to the medical center, he very well might not have survived," Utter says.
In surgery, Utter removed Baker's spleen and stopped the internal bleeding. "The procedure is relatively simple, but it represents the best of what trauma care offers," Utter says. "We're available to someone like Brett with a life-threatening problem right at a time when they really need us, and we get the chance to save a person's life."
Now fully recovered, Baker is back in school working toward a firefighter career. "Dr. Utter saved my life. There's nothing else I can say," Baker says. "I'd never had a serious injury before, so this event was very humbling. I look at life a little differently now, because I know how quickly it can be taken away. I can't thank everyone at UC Davis enough."
In this issue of UC Davis Medicine, you can read more about UC Davis Health System's Trauma Program and other trauma survivors.