It was a stunning October day. The brilliant reds and oranges of fall foliage were at their peak. An unmistakable seasonal crispness filled the air.
Lisa and Ken Hicks decided it was the perfect day for an afternoon bike ride. They set out on their motorcycles from their Willow Street home, headed to Susquehannock State Park.
Although Lisa remembers nothing about the day, both she and Ken are filled with incredible gratitude for a series of fortunate events—including care at Lancaster General Hospital’s Level II Trauma Center—that saved Lisa’s life.
Tragedy in The Rear-View Mirror
Ken was leading the way down Route 324 in Martic Township when a small bus passed him in the opposite lane. As he glanced in his rear-view mirror, he saw the bus hit an embankment on the side of the road. Lisa was no longer behind him.
Ken quickly turned around and discovered the accident. Lisa, who was wearing a helmet, had been thrown from her bike. Her leg was partially detached on impact and her arm badly injured. Ken immediately called 911.
A Serendipitous Cast of Characters
What follows, can only be described as miraculous. As Lisa describes it, “God’s hand was on me the entire time.”
A police officer from a neighboring jurisdiction was the second person on the scene after Ken and provided him with a tourniquet to help control his wife’s bleeding. Doctors later confirmed this quick action saved Lisa’s life.
Two Lancaster General Hospital trauma nurses, husband and wife Bryan and Jennifer Peterson (pictured above visiting Lisa at home during her recovery), out for a day of house-hunting, were stopped in traffic behind the accident. They ran to the scene and worked quickly to open Lisa’s airway, allowing her to breathe. As they waited for EMS to arrive, they grabbed Ken’s sweatshirt and tied it around Lisa’s waist to stabilize her pelvis. Bryan called ahead to the trauma team to provide information on Lisa’s injuries.
The ambulance arrived shortly thereafter and transported Lisa to Lancaster General Hospital.
“When we got to the hospital they were outside, waiting to care for my wife,” said Ken.
Emergency Trauma Surgery
Trauma surgeons Dr. Eric Bradburn (pictured greeting Lisa and Ken at EMS Day at the Lancaster Barnstormers) and Dr. Amber Batool swung into action, first resuscitating Lisa; then taking her into emergency surgery. The team was able to save Lisa’s arm and part of her leg which would enable her to later be fit with a prosthesis.
Lisa went on to receive care at Lancaster General Hospital for 25 days–13 in the Trauma Neurosurgical Unit.
On The Road to Recovery
Lisa is now undergoing physical therapy, re-learning to walk, with Ken by her side every step of the way. Future surgery at Penn Medicine will allow her gain even greater use of her injured arm.
The Hicks can’t say enough about how thankful they are to the police officer, nurses, and EMS personnel at the accident scene, and all who cared for Lisa during her nearly month-long stay at Lancaster General Hospital.
“I’m incredibly grateful for all the people at Lancaster General Hospital,” said Lisa. “I’m amazed at the work they do. All the compassion, empathy and love that were shown to us...it has to be a calling to give so much of yourself every day to care for others.”