Recently on September 18th this year, 22-year-old Andriea Clark-Jaquays was involved in a head-on collision in Mendon Township on Silver Street/Michigan Avenue around 10:15 a.m. Both cars were travelling near 55 mph and both had significant front-end damage. The scene was littered with debris from impact.
Andriea was protected by her seatbelt and airbags during the accident, but had a short loss of consciousness after the accident. Mendon Fire and Rescue and LifeCare EMS arrived on scene, and Air Care was called to assist. Upon our arrival, extrication was still in progress and Andriea’s legs were pinned fast in the driver’s seat. She was in pain and bone was protruding from her right knee. The crew also noted angulation of the left femur. Flight nurses Paul Mazurek and Matt Heffelfinger, along with Dr. Michael Sullivan, D.O., started an IV and administered the medication Ketamine to ease Andriea’s pain so she could be removed from the car. Ketamine offers both sedation and analgesia (pain control) all in one medication. Reduced doses are recommended for patients in shock.
Andriea continued to breathe on her own while she was immobilized and extricated from the car. Her left leg was realigned in anatomic position which improved circulation. All this she tolerated well and has no recollection of, thanks to titration of Ketamine.
The crew gave Andriea intravenous fluids and Fentanyl for pain for the remainder of the flight to Bronson, turning over care to Dr. Kraatz and the ER staff. Although Andriea was talking to the Air Care nurses and ER staff, she does not remember the accident at all or her flight to Bronson. She does remember her mother crying over her in the Bronson Trauma Care Unit. Andriea had significant injuries, especially on her left side. In addition to her concussion, she had bilateral broken kneecaps, a left ankle fracture, a left elbow fracture and a left femur broken in two places. To make matters worse, Andriea had sustained a Grade III laceration to her spleen and required two units of blood. She also had a broken rib and a small pneumothorax. Andriea underwent surgery for four hours that first day and ten hours the next to repair her injuries.
Despite her significant injuries, Andriea tolerated her procedures well, recovered, and has returned home. Andriea came to West Michigan Air Care on October 21st to see her flight nurses again and was surprised to learn she had been awake and talking with them during her flight, since she has no recall of the experience now.
Andriea says she is starting to walk again and will be working with physical therapy for a while. We are happy to know Andriea is doing so well!