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Thankful Is an Understatement

"They've been there for me every step of the way, and I couldn't be more thankful."

June 2, 2017

On August 8, 2015, June Mcmillin, an emergency medicine physician, was on her way to work when another driver passed over into her lane.  Both June and the other driver quickly noticed the mistake and both attempted to correct.  However, the two vehicles collided killing the other driver immediately.

June had practiced emergency medicine for over thirty-five years and was practicing at several facilities in Tennessee during 2015.  This was the reason she was driving the stretch of 95 miles early in the morning on the day of her accident.  June loved practicing in her field of medicine, she claimed it fulfilled her goal in life: to help people in need, make a difference in someone else’s life, be an advocate for patients and their families, to work with bright and dedicated people and to ease the pain and suffering of others.

June was conscious, but was far from out of the woods.  Severely injured, no cell phone service and fearful of her life; June was thankful to have a safety feature in her car that would notify dispatch to send EMS to her location.  It was only after June was rushed to Erlanger hospital that the extent of her injuries was explained to her.  She had several broken ribs on both sides of her rib cage, a fractured spleen, femur and ankle.  But that wasn’t the worst part- June’s right leg was beyond repair and had to be amputated.  Her left leg was far from untouched as it required extensive surgeries to improve functionality and appearance.  Although June doesn’t remember much of the first few days after her accident, her family had to live through the traumatic experience of not knowing whether she would survive the surgeries needed to stabilize all of the injuries she had sustained. 

Dr. Jason Rehm was on call for June’s case that day.  Dr. Rehm, a partner of the Plastic Surgery Group, specializes in reconstructive procedures post traumatic injuries.  Dr. Rehm determined he would perform a series of surgeries on her left leg, most consisting of skin grafts, to help improve functionality and appearance.  “I can always tell when Dr. Rehm [instead of another physician] does the skin grafts,” June noted.  “He can do them with minimal pain and they always look better.”

Following her month long stay at Erlanger, June spent a month at Siskin for physical therapy and even more skin grafts.  Then she went through nine more months of outpatient physical therapy.  She will now spend many of the upcoming years working with a prosthesis specialist.  She claims she is lucky to have been amputated below the knee instead of above it.  However, this does not make all the everyday activities she did prior to her accident any less exhausting or difficult. 

June credits heavily her husband and best friend for helping her in rehabilitation.  They encouraged her perseverance and pushed her to do things she wouldn’t do on her own. They were there on the good and the bad days.  On the first day she stood up following her accident, there was not a dry eye in the room.  She continues to get stronger, mentally and physically, every single day. 

“I never realized how much an accident like this affects families.  Your sacrifice is obvious,” she said.  “[The sacrifice of the families] is not.  They sacrifice so much time and emotion.  They’ve been there for me every step of the way, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”

June says that the Plastic Surgery Group has been terrific in her whole experience and that she refuses “to have anyone besides Dr. Rehm” perform her surgeries.