In July 2020, Vimal Patel shattered both of his heels in a car crash. He was rushed to the nearest trauma center at the UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. The diagnosis from the surgeons was dire: a double foot amputation.
Vimal’s brother-in-law, Suhag Patel, had a different idea. After researching trauma centers across the country that might offer Vimal other options, Suhag found IU Health. “He’d read about IU Health’s work in treating injured Indy 500 drivers,” Vimal recalled. “Suhag said, ‘This is where we need to go.’”
Inspired to fight
Vimal chartered a private air ambulance for the 2,000-mile journey to Indianapolis from California. When Vimal landed at midnight, the IU Health trauma team immediately went to work.
“They were working around the clock, taking me in at 2 in the morning for X-rays,” Vimal said. “That’s what inspired me to fight. I thought, ‘If they’re going to fight this hard for me, why shouldn’t I fight that hard for myself?’”
During his two-and-a-half months at IU Health Methodist Hospital, Vimal underwent successful surgery, received hyperbaric oxygen treatment and worked diligently with the rehab team to gain strength in his feet.
When it was time to fly back to California, Vimal remained connected to his IU Health clinicians. “A month later, two months later, if I had a question, the IU Health doctors would respond immediately,” Vimal said. “I was just blown away.”
Where the rubber meets the road
Much of the trauma care Vimal received was supported by gifts made to Rev, IU Health Foundation’s signature fundraising event. Over the last eight years, Rev has hosted supporters at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a night of food, music and interactive experiences. All proceeds from Rev support trauma care at IU Health.
In February 2022, Vimal connected with Duchess Adjei, a long-time Rev donor and committee member, on Zoom. Vimal shared that he can now walk, jog, jump and ride his bike. “What you do as donors means the world to patients like me,” Vimal told Adjei.
“This meetup that we’ve had today is where the rubber meets the road,” Adjei told Vimal. “I’m seeing someone who is a direct beneficiary of my gift, and it’s incredibly heartwarming.”
At the end of their reunion, Vimal shared with Adjei that he plans to return to Indianapolis this year. When asked why he wanted to come back, Vimal said, “I want to thank the doctors in person who helped me through all of this.”