Bits 'n' Pieces: Hospital features Camas man's survival story

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When Tom Trautman heard he had undergone 26 surgeries, he was stunned. That couldn't be right.

"I had no idea I'd even had one," Trautman said.

If you go

• What: 100th anniversary party for Legacy Emanuel.

• When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: 501 N. Graham St., Portland.

The Camas man was a patient at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in 2010 when his wife, Becky, told Tom he'd be on the news.

Tom said he wondered, "Why would I be on the news?" He didn't know he had a compelling story of survival. Of course, he was in a medically induced coma for a while, and, "I had no idea a month had passed," he said.

"On the news, they said I'd had 26 surgeries," Trautman recalled. "I looked at my wife and cried."

A nurse came in later and told Trautman that the news report had gotten it wrong. Trautman, of course, knew it couldn't have been right … and then the nurse gave Trautman the update.

"She said it was more like 30-plus" surgeries, he said, "and that blew me away."

The official tally was 32 surgeries, as Trautman recovered from a case of H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu.

Trautman's survival story has made him a poster boy for Legacy Emanuel.

The Portland medical center is celebrating its 100th anniversary Saturday, and he is part of a multimedia campaign spotlighting people who were born, trained or saved there.

He's been featured in a full-page ad in The Columbian. The same image is on a Portland billboard, and on a postcard-sized invitation distributed to thousands of people in the area.

The Trautmans also shared their story on a featured video on Legacy Health.

"The doctors gave Tom a 10 percent chance of living," Becky said on the video, "Saving Lives with ECMO."

ECMO — extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — means Tom's blood was circulated through a tube system and oxygenated outside his body.

Tom said he and Becky were happy to be part of Legacy's celebration.

"No problem," said Trautman, who has been back at work full time as a welder-pipe fitter for almost two years. "They were like our family, and still are."

Becky Trautman puts that into practice, volunteering twice a week at Legacy Emanuel.

"I meet with pretty much all the ECMO patients and their families," she said. "It's almost like therapy for me, helping somebody who is going through the same thing I went through."

— Tom Vogt

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.