1771 NC

Carroll Oakes

Carroll and his wife, Kathy, started their day like any other. After dropping Kathy off at Walmart, he parked the car. Walking to the store, he heard a loud sound, and his arm felt as though it were on fire. When he saw that his arm was bleeding, he used his other arm to squeeze the injured one tightly, pulling it against his stomach. That’s when he looked up to see a man pointing a shotgun directly at him. And then the gunman shot Carroll again, this time in the stomach.

Carroll started running. A member of Carroll’s church saw him and told him to get in his van so he could take him to the hospital. In shock, Carroll refused, saying he needed to find his wife. The friend didn’t give up, despite Carroll’s protests. Eventually the friend reassured him that someone from their church would come get Kathy, and true to his word, another church member brought Kathy directly to Carroll’s bedside as quickly as possible.

I got—while I was in the hospital for 12 days—excellent care. A lot of empathy shown by the nurses and the doctors. They looked [at me] like I was a special person—which I'm not. Treated me kind of like a king!

Vidant Medical Center doctors were able to save Carroll’s arm. Carroll was in the hospital for nearly two weeks, and despite his ordeal, he described his experience as positive throughout. In fact, he said, staff made him feel special the entire time. It wasn’t just the excellent medical care he received, but it was also the way the staff treated him. “I got—while I was in the hospital for 12 days—excellent care. A lot of empathy shown by the nurses and the doctors. They looked [at me] like I was a special person—which I'm not. Treated me kind of like a king!”

After a rehabilitation process that began in the hospital and continued on an outpatient basis, Carroll had additional surgery to remove some of the shotgun pellets in his hands and fingers. With some occasional numbness and one finger that won’t straighten out entirely, Carroll can do almost everything today that he could do before—even use his computer.

Carroll felt proud to be part of a respected teaching hospital’s process, and he enjoyed the way residents would ask questions and engage the specialists. Because of his experience, Carroll has complete confidence that Vidant Health Foundation funds go directly to good causes—in particular, “to attract doctors, to buy necessary equipment, to keep [Vidant Health] in the forefront of the medical community,” he said.

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