On the first lap of a 1988 Pocono Raceway event, NASCAR legend Bobby Allison radioed his crew that his tire was going flat. In the second turn, the tire blew. Allison's car hit the wall, spun and was T-boned on the driver's side. His injuries were life-threatening.
As trauma specialists from Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) began treatment at the scene, raceway owners Drs. Joseph "Doc" and Rose Mattioli comforted Allison's wife, July.
"I told her we had a helicopter to take him to the health network's Trauma Center and that he would receive the best care," Rose says. "All the drivers took comfort in knowing he was in good hands."
The Mattiolis believe Allison is alive today because of the trauma care he received. It's one reason they contributed $1 million to support trauma care at LVHN. In recognition of the gift, LVHN. In recognition of the gift, LVHN has named the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest facility the Mattioli Trauma Center.
"We've been fortunate over the years, and strongly believe in supporting things that are important to us," Doc Mattioli says.
Interest from the endowment created by the Mattiolis' gift will perpetually support trauma care, education and research. "It will raise the quality of trauma care available in our community to an even higher level and further enhance our health network's reputation as a regional and national leader," says Elliot J. Sussman, M.D., LVHN's president and chief executive officer. The Mattioli Trauma Center is the region's largest Level 1 Trauma Center for adults, provides the region's highest level of trauma care for children, is the only one that specializes in trauma care for older adults, and includes one of the most advanced burn centers in the nation. Approximately 4,500 people receive care at the Mattioli Trauma Center every year.
The Mattiolis also experienced the importance of specialized health care when their twin great-grandchildren were born prematurely. Weighing three pounds at birth, they received care in LVHN's neonatal unit.
"It's a miracle that they lived," Rose says. "We had the right people to take care of them. We call them our miracle babies."
Children of modest families, Doc and Rose, vowed in their youth to support causes that were important to them if they ever had the means.
"Thank God I married someone who had the same beliefs as me," Rose says. "It's important for us to give back to the community that has given us so much."
Doc and Rose's "passion for the sport of racing" is as strong today as it was when they built the Long Pond, Pa., raceway more than 40 years ago. They know that by supporting a health network with "A Passion for Better Medicine," future generations will have access to the same life-saving care that a NASCAR legend and their beloved great-grandchildren received.
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes three hospital facilities - two in Allentown and one in Bethlehem; eight health care centers caring for communities in four counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred, Specialty care includes: trauma care at the region's most experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Primary Stroke Center.
Lehigh Valley Health Network has been recognized by US News and World Report for 14 consecutive years as one of America's Best Hospitals; is a national Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing; and has been honored nine straight years among the top integrated health networks in the U.S. Lehigh Valley Hospital has been selected as a National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Center Program. Additional information is available at lvhn.org and by following on facebook.cor/LVHealthNetwork and twitter.com/LVHNnews.