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Patient Stories

Swift Action and Expert Care Gives Neurotrauma Patient a Second Chance at Life

Aug. 28, 2023

College student Anish Nattamai's passion for building led to drones, go-karts & a business. After a biking accident caused a severe head injury, quick medical intervention at UC Health & his resilience facilitated a remarkable recovery.

Anish Nattamai, a second-year college student majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Cincinnati, has always been drawn to building and creating. His passion for building has led him to create drones, go-karts, an electric bike, a unique bed frame and recently, his own small business.

“I just like to build. I have built a lot of drones and a couple of go-karts. I started a small business called Quadifier, where I design parts for drones, and now, I am receiving 40 to 50 orders at a time,” Anish said.

On October 16, 2022, Anish was enjoying a ride on his electric bicycle with a friend at a local park in Cincinnati.

“They had their helmets on and they were having fun in the park,” Anish’s mom Kalpana recalled. “He took his helmet off and was riding in a place where people walk, so he was not going fast, and was getting ready to go home. Unfortunately, he did not put his helmet back on, and in a flash of a second, he was on the ground.”

The friend riding with Anish saw his friend on the ground, having a seizure. They would later learn his fall caused an epidural hematoma, or a type of bleeding inside the skull that can cause pressure on the brain.

Anish was quickly taken to another local hospital, but upon realizing the severity of his injuries and the need for surgery, the ER physician arranged for Anish to be transferred via the UC Air Care team to the UC Medical Center for the highest possible level of care in the region. Upon arrival, the UC Health team immediately realized Anish needed a critical procedure to stop the bleeding and relieve the pressure on his brain.

“It was all happening so quickly, we couldn’t comprehend what was going on,” Kalpana remembered.

After the quick assessment by the UC Medical Center emergency and trauma teams, Anish underwent urgent neurosurgery performed by Dr. Justin Virojanapa, DO, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the UC College of Medicine. In those crucial days following surgery, Anish received expert and dedicated care in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (NSICU) from the neurocritical care and neurotrauma teams. From trauma to neurosurgery to neurology, to ENT and rehab, Anish received care from a truly multidisciplinary team who consistently collaborated from all angles to ensure he had the best care possible. After 9 days in the NSICU and 10 days at Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care for his rehabilitation, Anish was able to go home.

Throughout his stay, Anish and his family experienced exceptional care and support from the staff. Despite the challenges, Anish's positive attitude, determination and unwavering support of his family and UC Health team played a significant role in his remarkable recovery.

“The staff give life back to the people who are there. I cannot thank each one of them enough for making it easy for us. There’s constant care—every time you come out of the room, there is a doctor or a nurse there,” Kalpana said about her experience with her son at UC Health.

Anish continually expresses his gratitude for the compassionate care he received at Daniel Drake Center during his rehabilitation process. He emphasizes the kindness of the medical professionals, nurses, therapists and even the cleaning staff who went above and beyond to ensure his well-being.

“I remember pretty much everything when I was at Drake, and the care was amazing. They would come every day to give me activities to help me get back to where I was before my accident. I had the determination to go home quickly, and I did,” Anish said.

Anish's recovery is a testament to the importance of quick medical intervention and exceptional providers—something that only UC Health can provide. At UC Health, we believe that academic medicine has the power to change the lives of our patients and reimagine recovery possibilities – and Anish embodies what can happen when a collaborative team of expert specialists works together.

“It was the timely service and the decisions made at the time. Otherwise, we do not know where we would be right now. He is so thankful for everybody,” his mom said.

Looking toward the future, Anish is continuing his college education, running his small business and inspiring others through his journey of recovery and resilience. He shares his message of appreciating life, following one's passions and making the most out of every opportunity.

“Life is pretty much what it would have been if it didn't happen at all,” Anish said with a smile. “I'm not really experiencing any changes—except that they don’t let me go for rides in the park anymore.”