Patient Stories

Kevin’s Journey: A Traumatic Accident, A Future in Medicine Regained

Jun. 11, 2024

In the spring of 2019, Kevin reached the last day of medical school and was prepared to begin his residency in radiology that summer. Then tragedy struck.

Kevin Mason is a proud native of Northern Kentucky. After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky, Kevin pursued his passion for medicine at the University of Pikeville, KY College of Osteopathic Medicine. Inspired by a compassionate pediatrician and his innate love for science, he embarked on a journey to make a difference in people's lives.

Kevin recalls, “I didn't have anybody in the family in medicine. It was just something that I've always thought I would do from a young age. I had a great pediatrician who always made me feel good, and I enjoy helping people. I like being at the forefront of innovation and being someone who can provide value to society.”

In the spring of 2019, Kevin reached the last day of medical school and was prepared to begin his residency in radiology that summer. Then tragedy struck. A horrible accident led to a five-story fall, leaving Kevin with catastrophic injuries, including a broken pelvis and back, as well as multiple ruptured organs, including a lacerated colon. It was the swift response of paramedics on the scene and the surgical intervention of the medical team at the original emergency department and hospital that saved Kevin’s life. However, the trauma surgeon knew Kevin needed a higher level of expertise for the next stages of his care.

So, he was transferred to UC Health.

Here, he underwent the care of Jason Schrager, MD, a general surgeon; Rani Nasser, MD, a neurosurgeon with the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute; and Henry Sagi, MD, an orthopedic surgeon. Their expertise and dedication further stabilized him and laid the foundation for his remarkable recovery. Kevin underwent a multidisciplinary spinal-pelvic reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Nasser said, “Kevin’s spinal nerves were critically compressed, and his spine (in addition to his pelvis) was also very unstable.  To restore nerve function and reconstitute his spinal-pelvic stability, we decompressed his nerves by removing the jagged bone fragments that were entrapping the spinal nerves as well as reconstructing the broken spinal column.  Kevin has surpassed every expectation, regaining nerve function and rejoining the workforce now as a colleague in the service of medicine.”

"I'm forever grateful because they were able to give me a quality of life that I don't think many people would have been able to,” said Kevin.

It wasn’t just the surgical and clinical care that made the difference for Kevin during those overwhelming first few weeks; it was also the warmth of Dr. Nasser.

“There’s one thing postoperatively I specifically remember and appreciate to this day now that I've done my intern year and worked in the [intensive care unit]. I was delirious for about a week in the hospital. I kept going in and out of different realities with intermittent periods of lucidity. Dr. Nasser took the time to sit down with me because I was panicking. It was absolutely frightening… That was also some of the most excruciating pain I've ever been in. Having [Dr. Nasser] sit down with me and talk to me, reorienting me, redirecting me, calming me down, explaining who he was…he really took the time to listen to my story.”

Challenges marked Kevin’s journey to recovery. From relearning basic skills to enduring months of intense physical therapy, every step forward was a testament to his determination. Despite the pain and setbacks, Kevin found solace in his mother's unwavering care and the kindness of his community, which rallied behind him.

“It was really difficult going from someone who was active to someone who had to learn how to walk again. I had a walker for a couple of months and then a cane for another six months. They told me it would probably take a year, but I was rather adamant about recovering more quickly.”

In addition to the physical challenges, Kevin experienced some professional ones. Because he needed time to heal, he had to reapply and interview for his residency, a process that began just months after this accident, as he continued to face physical limitations and ongoing excruciating pain.

The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine ultimately offered Kevin placement in their radiology residency.

“The appearance of someone who had my story and looked as frail as I did probably wasn't encouraging (during interviews). Radiology is a very competitive field; you have a lot of top applicants coming in from medical schools…I was very grateful that [UC] gave me the opportunity. I’m still grateful to them for accepting me.”

Today, Kevin continues to look ahead. He will complete his residency at UC Health in 2025, followed by a one-year fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s. His experience has shaped not only his professional trajectory but also his outlook on compassion and perseverance. As he prepares to embark on the next chapter of his career, Kevin remains grateful for the dedicated professionals and supportive community that helped him reclaim his life.

“It’s interesting being in radiology now. I see people go through significantly less and not walk out nearly in the shape I have been able to, so I'm very grateful. It’s nice being able to see [my doctor’s] names attached to patients with complex pathology, complicated fractures, or severe scoliosis, the things that not many people have the talent and skills to fix. It gives me a little smile when working because I know those patients will be in great hands with my care team.”

Kevin isn’t the only one who this experience has professionally impacted.

He says with a smile, “My mom just graduated from nursing school. She had always wanted to be a nurse but never pursued it due to a dislike of needles and blood. However, after taking care of me and seeing the care I received, she was inspired to pursue her passion. I would be remiss if I didn't say that my mom was a huge part of my care team because she pretty much quit her job to take care of me after my accident and help me recover.”

Through his journey, Kevin hopes to inspire others to persevere in the face of adversity. His story is a testament to the power of resilience and the transformative impact of compassionate care.

“Whatever situation you are in, just try to stay motivated to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and definitely physically. Always take one step forward. Even if you have to rest, that's okay. Take a break, but don't give up on yourself. The human body is remarkable.”

Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine
Practices: Trauma & Fracture , Orthopaedic Surgery
Practices: General Surgery , Trauma Surgery , Trauma Care