A supplement to the Mission magazine highlighting advancements at the The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the heroes who help make them happen.
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X-ray of Creek’s injury
This X-ray of Creek’s injury was taken when he arrived in the ER at University Hospital.

Neurosurgeon turns trauma injury into triumph
David F. Jimenez, M.D.
David F. Jimenez, M.D.

David F. Jimenez, M.D., joined the Health Science Center in 2004 to lead a new era in the field of neurosurgery. That same year, he was called in on one of the most traumatic and unusual injuries he had ever seen. Wayne Gail Creek, a 62-year-old mechanic for HOLT CAT, had been impaled through the head with a steel hook from heavy equipment.

The 2-inch-thick hook had missed his carotid arteries by a tenth of an inch. The hook’s tip protruded from a wound above his swollen right eye.

It had not decimated the brain, but the piece of the hook in Creek’s head weighed 4 pounds and might have pierced the arteries.

It was up to Dr. Jimenez, professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, to extract it. He led a team of 20 medical professionals performing the surgery at University Hospital.

3d rendering of Mr. X-ray of Creek’s injury
Dr. Jimenez removed the 10-inch-long, 2-inch-thick hook, which, as illustrated here, protruded from a wound above Creek’s right eye. The hook had missed his carotid arteries by a tenth of an inch.
Dr. Jimenez removed the hook by coaxing it back through its path of entry. Over the next 17 days, while Creek was in intensive care, Dr. Jimenez would operate three more times to remove sterile dressings as the wound progressively closed.

“We are very grateful for what Dr. Jimenez did for us, and I do not believe any other doctor could have done it,” said Creek’s wife, Barbara.

The hook destroyed Creek’s vision, so he has learned to do some things differently. Today he and his wife live in Karnes City, where they are longtime residents.

“Dr. Jimenez couldn’t have done any better, the way he handled it,” Mr. Creek said. “I was in bad shape. He is a professional.”

The Creeks have three grandchildren, one at Texas A&M University, one graduating from high school and one starting high school. Because of Dr. Jimenez and the team, they are enjoying additional time with their grandfather.

Mrs. Creek watched Dr. Jimenez on TV recently as he spoke about the condition of local boxer Oscar Diaz. The young man collapsed in the ring with a head injury and was brought to Dr. Jimenez for surgery. Mrs. Creek knows Oscar is in good hands. “The boxer will do well because he’s got the miracle worker,” she said. “If anyone ever needed a surgeon, I would tell them to find Dr. Jimenez.”

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