Imagine waking up in a hospital’s ICU with casts on, IVs dripping, machines humming and absolutely no recollection of the incident that led to this acute predicament.
That’s exactly what 34-year-old Overland Park resident Lisa Butler experienced in late July 2009. On July 18, she was the passenger on a motorcycle traveling 65 miles per hour on Highway K-7 when the motorcycle was sideswiped by a car. The collision’s immense force sent the young woman flying from the bike, causing her to hit the pavement, lose her shoes and consciousness.
The airlift summoned to the scene that summer evening transported Lisa to Overland Park Regional Medical Center (OPRMC), an American College of Surgeons accredited Level II Regional Trauma Center, where a team of emergency technicians, doctors and nurses quickly assessed her condition. Lisa’s pelvis was shattered in five places and had shifted 90 degrees on impact. She also suffered from a broken arm, fractured leg and myriad injuries.
Butler’s parents, Marilyn and Larry Wohler, live in Manhattan, Kans., and were notified as next of kin. “We had to give permission over the phone for them to take Lisa into surgery,” says Marilyn. “Then we got into the car and raced to Overland Park to be by our only daughter’s side.”
Mark Humphrey, MD, orthopedic surgeon with the Overland Park Orthopedics practice, has practiced at OPRMC for 20 years. Dr. Humphrey placed screws, pins and plates in Lisa’s arm and leg. Also attending to Lisa’s severe pelvic injuries was Dr. Joshua Niemann, MD, of Dickson-Diveley Midwest Orthopedic Clinic, and cardiologist George Pierson. MD, of Overland Park Cardiovascular who was called in when Lisa began experiencing heart difficulties.
“Larry and I are so grateful that every doctor on Lisa’s team was a seasoned specialist,” says Marilyn. “Their tremendous abilities to help her and calm us in this difficult situation were priceless.”
Lisa recalls waking up in the ICU, still fuzzy from the accident and the pain medication, terrified and being concerned about her appearance. “The nurses assured me I was okay and spent time braiding my hair and making me as comfortable as possible,” says Lisa. “They were such a positive influence during my stay. I think it actually helped lessen my pain.”
When Lisa was transferred to an acute-care nursing unit from the intensive care unit at OPRMC her parents say the excellent and attentive treatment didn’t waver. “If possible, the nurses, doctors and staff were even more accommodating,” says Marilyn. “Larry and I would take turns staying with Lisa, shuttling back and forth to a nearby hotel. We were given a code that allowed us access to information about Lisa’s condition when away from the hospital.”
Lisa was discharged from OPRMC on August 4, 2009, with permanent hearing loss in her left ear and injuries well on their way to healing. Although Lisa knows her recovery will be tedious and long and will require months of physical therapy and internal determination, she says her experience as a trauma patient was made less frightening with the tender care of doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel.
“I always carry two lucky pennies,” says Lisa. “My clothes had to be cut off the night of the accident, but when I was given back my personal belongings, I was given back the pennies. It reinforces how fortunate I am to be alive today. My gratitude for the care I received at OPRMC is limitless.”