Providence Holy Cross celebrates trauma center’s 40th anniversary 

Mia Tretta speaking at Providence Holy Cross trauma center celebration. Courtesy photo.
Mia Tretta speaking at Providence Holy Cross trauma center celebration. Courtesy photo.

News release 

For 40 years, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center’s trauma center has been serving a wide swath of northern Los Angeles County, treating victims of gun violence, freak accidents, hiking, biking and horseback mishaps and the 2008 Chatsworth Metrolink collision.  

The Mission Hills hospital recently celebrated four decades of trauma to triumph, honoring survivors, the trauma staff and the community members who help make medical advancements possible. The speakers at the event included two from the Santa Clarita Valley who are former patients of the Mission Hills trauma center. 

Keynote speaker Mia Tretta, a 19-year-old freshman at Brown University and survivor ot the 2019 Saugus High School shooting, gripped the standing-room only crowd with her story of triumph, according to a news release from Holy Cross.  

Tretta was shot Nov. 14, 2019, by a schoolmate at Saugus High. She was rushed to Holy Cross for surgery to remove a bullet from her abdomen, one perilously close to an artery. Her best friend and another student, as well as the shooter, died. 

“As we laughed and talked, I heard a loud bang. Then a second bang and I found myself on the ground. Within milliseconds, everything became a blur of ringing, pounding and screams,” she said, recalling running for shelter. 

“As I ran to try and find an open door, I felt a pressure in my lower abdomen,” she continued, according to the release. “It was wet, it was warm. I told myself, ‘Don’t look down, just keep running.’” 

Tretta was airlifted to Holy Cross where she learned she was shot by a boy she didn’t know, one who came to school with his deceased father’s unsecured, loaded .45 caliber ghost gun, a homemade firearm.  

Since her successful recovery, Tretta has become a national spokesperson for gun safety and returned to Providence Holy Cross to participate in Stop the Bleed education that instructs community members how to stanch blood flow until first responders arrive.  

She’s partnered with Dr. Bernie Klein in his gun storage safety program that has given away more than 375 gun locks.  

“Our trauma program has been at the forefront of providing critical care to the most vulnerable in our communities, saving countless lives and fostering a legacy of compassion and excellence in medical care. Over the past four decades, it has been a beacon of hope and healing,” Klein, the hospital’s chief executive, said in the release.  

In 1984, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center became the first trauma center serving northern Los Angeles County, and over the past four decades the trauma team has treated close to 45,000 patients. Over the years, treatment has advanced thanks to science, innovation, a driven trauma team and a very generous community that has contributed to continually upgrading this specialized care, the release said. 

Among the trauma survivors was another Santa Clarita resident, Matthew Scalice, who was 15 when he suffered cardiac arrest in 2015 while swimming underwater in a friend’s pool. Scalice has asthma, and collapsed when he came up for air.  

“I’m so happy to be here,’’ said Scalice, who was joined by family members. “Along with paramedics, Holy Cross saved my life. This is wonderful, such an honor.” 

Dr. David Hanpeter, trauma program medical director who attended the celebration, cared for Scalice, who spent 20 days in the hospital, 12 of those in a medically induced coma. 

Michelle Koenig Barritt, the hospital’s chief philanthropy officer, credits the community for its support in life-saving trauma care.  

“In my role, I’m fortunate to witness the profound impacts of generosity from our caregivers, our physicians and our donors,” Barritt said in the release. “Over the years, donor contributions have fueled innovations, expanded services and transformed patient care experiences, allowing us to provide life-changing and life-saving services.” 

Mia Tretta and Matthew Scalice, former trauma patients at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. Courtesy photo.
Mia Tretta and Matthew Scalice, former trauma patients at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. Courtesy photo.

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