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A terrible crash, multiple injuries — VCU Medical Center shows why it’s a “Level 1” Trauma Center

At this year’s Shining Knight Gala, Bryan Sides’ story was shared and his trauma team honored.

Bryan Sides and daughter Bryan Sides with one of his three daughters. VCU Health's Level 1 Trauma Center worked hard to save Bryan's life after a horrible car crash.

By Esther Benenson

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and Ashley Sides, her husband, Bryan, and their young daughters were looking forward to that afternoon’s Chester Christmas Parade. Bryan had just called to say he was on his way from a job. He was dropping off a co-worker and would be home shortly.

Then the waiting began. 10:30. 11:30. 12:30. Where was Bryan?

By the time Ashley learned of the car wreck, her husband was already at VCU Medical Center, the only Level I adult, pediatric and burn trauma center in the region, where an interdisciplinary team of specialists was hard at work saving his life.

A pole punctured Bryan’s lower chest. He had broken ribs, a huge crack in his liver, damage to his small intestines and massive blood loss. Bryan survived his initial injuries but bacteria that spilled from his damaged intestines then spread to his bloodstream. The resulting bacterial infection and the antibiotics used to treat it were causing one of his kidneys to fail. These were just some of the problems the hundreds of doctors, nurses and ancillary health care trauma team worked on to save Bryan’s life.

Bryan Sides' car crash

Today Bryan, the proud father of three, is good as new. The paramedics that rescued him and the trauma team that saved his life were honored May 8 at the VCU Health Shining Knight Gala — held virtually this year due to COVID-19.

Each year at the gala, dozens of “Shining Knights” are recognized for their role in saving the life of one specific trauma patient. Net proceeds from the gala benefit injury and violence prevention programs at and through VCU Medical Center’s trauma program.

Bryan’s story epitomizes the extraordinary skills and commitment put to use every day at our trauma center and demonstrate why our trauma center has earned the rare distinction of being “Level 1.”

Hear Bryan’s story:



Kristen Mallory and her care team were also honored at the Shining Knight Gala. 

If you would like to support VCU Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center or its injury and violence prevention programs, you can make a gift today. Your kind support is greatly appreciated.

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