Triathlete Mary Kay Campbell will never forget the holiday season of 2018. It started as a joyous family holiday in San Diego but ended badly as Mary Kay and her brother endured a life-changing electric scooter accident which left her in the hospital for weeks. After spending several days in the ICU at a San Diego-based hospital, she was transferred to CHA HPMC to undergo specialized therapy at our Acute Rehabilitation unit. Mary Kay, who works in the healthcare industry, is sharing her story to highlight the critical work that happens at our Acute Rehab.

“I don’t remember anything from the accident, but I was told that I broke my skull in five places, had a massive head wound, and ended up with 13 staples on my head. I was unconscious in the ICU and the neurosurgery and trauma team wasn’t sure if I would make it. My memory kicked in once I was put in the ambulance and transferred to CHA Hollywood Presbyterian for rehab,” she recalls.

Mary Kay is all praises for our staff and doctors who were instrumental in her journey to recovery, especially physical therapist Samson Kwon (Sam) who helped her get back on her feet. “Somehow, he (Sam) learned that I am a triathlete and a big fan of sports. So, he started calling me ‘Champ’. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed that as a sports fan.”

Mary Kay is a fan of Wendy’s, the fast-food chain, and she was very happy to spot the restaurant right across the street from our hospital. “During one of my therapy sessions, I spotted Wendy’s across the street from the window and it reminded me of my work days when I would go to the restaurant chain for lunch on Fridays. Sam encouraged me to get better to go to Wendy’s again. So, I’d ask him every day if it was ‘Wendy’s day’,” she fondly remembers.

The day she was looking forward to came very soon. “Wendy’s opens at 11:00 a.m., but Sam and I arrived at 10:58 a.m. and were the first ones to order. As we made our way back to the hospital, I was very excited. Sam was watching me as I walked. He was walking close enough to hold me if I fell, but he made sure I was stable and let me walk by myself,” she remembers.

The accident caused devastating injuries that could have restricted Mary Kay from competing in triathlons again. Thanks to her determination and the care she received at our Acute Rehab, Mary Kay has completed three triathlons, one half marathon, a 10K and several 5K runs, since the accident.
Go to our Patient Stories