Meet Kent

Kent Rathbun’s journey to Parkland started more than 500 miles away on a cattle ranch outside Marfa, Texas. The renowned chef, his wife and daughter were touring the ranch on an ATV when they were thrown from the backseat of the vehicle, catastrophically injuring Kent.

“I literally thought I was going to die,” said Kent. “I can’t even describe the pain I was in. When I turned my head the slightest, I could feel my spine grinding. I knew I had broken my back at that point.”

That was Saturday at 4 p.m. Neither the first nor second hospital he was rushed to could treat the severity of his injuries. But Parkland could. He arrived Sunday night at 11 p.m.

“There was a sense of relief getting to Dallas, to be in my own town with my family close,” Kent said. “And I knew when I arrived at Parkland that I was in the right spot. I could tell the level of care I was getting when they rolled me in the door.”

A CT scan confirmed the extent of his injuries:

  • He had four fractures in his spine. One of the fractures was unstable, and the doctor warned him not to move. “It could mean the difference between you being in a wheelchair or dying,” Kent recalls being told that evening.
  • He had 22 broken ribs – the human body has only 24 – with five broken in two places.
  • He had a collapsed lung.
  • He had a bleeding kidney.

On Monday his lung was repaired. On Tuesday he endured an hours-long surgery to repair his spine. He went home 12 days later and slowly started his recovery.

Kent Rathbun

As a chef and restaurateur, Kent understands the need to provide an exceptional experience to each guest. He sees a similar expectation in health care.

“I understand there is a level of service Parkland employees are expected to give,” he said. “But what I felt and what I saw went above and beyond that by a long shot.

“From my nurses to the people who came into my room only once, everyone was as awesome as they could be,” he added. “Parkland  saved my life.”

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