MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida police officers who have been wounded in the line of duty were reunited Tuesday with the people who helped save their lives.
For the past twenty years, anytime a police officer in Miami-Dade County was seriously injured, they were sent to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital and Tuesday, some of those officers returned to thank the caregivers who saved their lives.
They are heroes in uniform who were injured in gun violence or car crashes but they say it’s the doctors and nurses at Ryder Trauma Center who are the heroes.
Miami-Dade Police Officer Carlos Castillo was viciously attacked during a traffic stop in 2010. He was hit over the head with a cinder block, kicked and stomped on and then run over by his own police car. Castillo was rushed to Ryder with life-threatening internal injuries and serious brain damage.
“I look at life being as fragile as it is,” said Castillo. “If worse comes to worse, if you’re injured this is the place to come to.”
Castillo spent three and a half months at Ryder and 6 months doing physical therapy at Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital. Today, he is back on the job.
In 2007, Miami-Dade Police Officer Jody Wright was shot in the leg in an ambush in South Miami-Dade that claimed the life of one police officer and left two others injured.
“Regular folks don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. Even if your family member comes here in critical condition, you have no idea that they have special people behind the scenes,” said Wright. Wright, who nearly lost her leg, spent 6 weeks recovering at Ryder and has had more than a dozen surgeries. She is back to work as a police officer.
Miami-Dade Police Director Jim Loftus also attended Tuesday’s reunion and summed up the care like this.
“Firearm $400, flashlight 50 bucks, bullet resistant vest about $600. The knowledge for our folks, that if the worst happens and if they can get through these doors, that the big brains and the big hearts will do everything they can for them, is priceless.”
Doctors and nurses at the event said they will always be there to treat the men and women who work to ensure our safety.