When University of Delaware communications major Kayla Codina was a freshman, she had only heard the name Christiana Care mentioned a few times. That was before she paid an unexpected visit to the Emergency Department at Christiana Hospital, after a car crash near her dormitory.
Even though Christiana Care ranks 16th in the nation in the number of hospital admissions, the young New Jersey woman knew little about it.
“All I knew was that it was a hospital in Delaware,” she said. “I had no idea what a large, high-tech system Christiana Care is—until I needed it.”
In October 2008, only a few weeks after her 18th birthday, Kayla and some friends were returning from an evening watching a movie. When they were about 200 feet from the dormitory “everyone in the car started screaming,” she recalls. “All we could see was headlights.”
Another car had crossed the center line and smashed head-on into Kayla and her friends. Shaken, in pain and bleeding from her mouth, Kayla was rushed by ambulance to Christiana Hospital. Her injuries made it difficult for her to communicate with doctors and nurses.
“I couldn’t speak because I was holding my mouth up,” she recalls. Even so, she says, “I felt reassured because the Emergency Department was so modern, clean and efficient—a calm and beautiful place where everyone was kind and attentive.”
Kayla’s jaw was broken in three places, under each ear and in the middle. Joseph J. Thornton, M.D., a plastic surgeon, operated to reset her jaw and place wires to keep the bones in place.
“By then, my dad had rushed to the hospital,” she recalls. “Dr. Thornton was so reassuring and explained everything to both me and my dad, which is very comforting to someone who is scared and bleeding from the mouth.”
During her recovery, Kayla received rehabilitative treatment and pain management care at Wilmington Hospital, where the wires in her jaw were routinely adjusted to make certain she was healing properly.
“The staff at Wilmington Hospital is very thoughtful and professional, starting from the minute you enter the waiting room,” she said. “They were respectful of my time and completely focused on helping me to get well.”
Now 20, Kayla is a junior at University of Delaware, focusing less on her jaw and more on her studies. “I’m grateful for the high quality of care I received at Christiana Care,” she says. “Even though I’m still in pain and undergoing treatment, I know that without the excellent care I received I would be much worse off.”