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Friends for Life

In the early morning hours of a cold, dark January day, Jeff Schwartz and his beloved dog, Buddy, went about their normal morning stroll in the Back Bay neighborhood they called home. When the walk sign at the corner of Dartmouth and Columbus Avenue lit up, Jeff and his mini-labradoodle stepped off the curb into the crosswalk. 

Jeff and his new dog CarlyJeff doesn’t recall seeing the school bus that hit them both. 

“When I woke up about three weeks later at Tufts Medical Center, my first question to my wife, Nancy, was ‘How is Buddy?,’” he recalled. “She wasn’t looking forward to that question.” 

Buddy wasn’t the only thing the 61-year-old architectural and interior designer had lost. His injuries were so severe, surgeons had to amputate his right leg to save his life. 

Teamwork

“When the ambulance brought Jeff in, he had multiple broken bones, head trauma and had lost a ton of blood. As we were trying to stabilize him, he went into cardiac arrest and the trauma team brought him back,” said orthopaedic trauma surgeon Scott Ryan, MD, who along with Horacio Hojman, MD, would perform multiple surgeries on Jeff. “He was very lucky…”
 
Jeff believes it wasn’t just luck – in addition to the support of family and friends, he says it was the extraordinary care of the trauma and neurology teams at Tufts MC that kept him going. 

Joy of recovery

“They not only kept me breathing, they gave me my life back,” said Jeff. “When I walked into the hospital on my own, with my new leg for the first time, you could see it on everyone’s face – they were sharing in the joy of my recovery.”

Jeff is back to running his architecture and interior design business and to going for walks with his new best friend, a baby cockapoo named Carly. He is beyond grateful. 

“Tufts MC has top flight, world-class clinicians but first and foremost they are top-flight, world-class people,” noted Jeff. “That’s what makes for a successful recovery. You don’t just have a doctor - you’ve got a friend who is rooting for you every step of the way.”