Injury: Contusion of C-3/4 vertebrae
Cause: Cycling accident
Place: San Francisco, CA
Date: January 5, 2003
Pete Poullos suffered a C3-4 spinal cord injury on January 5, 2003. An avid cyclist, Pete was on a training ride in San Francisco. He was riding by Fisherman's Wharf and swerved to miss an obstacle. His bike wheels slipped on the MUNI rails and he was thrown head first down a flight of stairs.
Just the night before his accident, Pete had spent the evening with friends. He had reason to celebrate: he had just completed his first solo procedure as a gastroenterologist which helped save the patient's life. In his final year of residency at UCSF, Pete was enjoying focusing on his specialty training in gastroenterology.
Pete's wife, Amy, and his friends have all commented that the injury has only reinforced what they already knew about him: that he is enthusiastic, optimistic and able to deal with any situation, including his own paralysis. While he is technically a quadriplegic, he has what is called central cord syndrome which gives him more lower body control. He can stand and walk with assistance of a crutch. He has limited use of his left arm and hand, but very little use of his upper right extremities. His determination is seen in how he approaches rehabilitation, which he does three times a week in order to regain as much movement as possible. And though this injury has put his medical career on hold, Pete is determined to return to medicine in some capacity.
SCORE is pleased to help with Pete's ongoing rehabilitation.