Motorcycle Victim on the Road to Recovery

Less than three months since a motorcycle accident left Sarah Stewart with major trauma injuries to her arm and pelvis, Sarah is pushing through the pain and walking again.

“She’s doing remarkably well,” says William Hakeos, M.D., the orthopedic trauma surgeon who led Sarah’s care. “She’s asking if she can go back to work earlier than I had originally suggested. To be doing that well not even three months from this kind of injury is truly remarkable.”

A rare accident with a major impact

Sarah and her husband Kawan, of Washington Township, set out in late March for their typical Sunday morning motorcycle ride but a freak accident landed Sarah in the hospital with serious injuries.

Sarah remembers few details about the accident after the couple approached an intersection on a yellow light. A miscommunication between the couple resulted in Sarah colliding with her husband’s motorcycle. “I remember skidding and I remember the impact. I don’t remember flying through the air,” she says.

Sarah’s injuries were extensive, her right arm was broken in half and fractured at the shoulder. Her pelvis was also broken in four places and the bone that sits at the base of the spine and strengthens the pelvis was broken in two places. She was transported to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital where her injuries were stabilized and then transferred later that night to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a Level 1 trauma center.

Taking additional safety precaution

The plan was to perform surgery to temporarily stabilize her pelvis and fix her broken arm. However, the situation was complicated when Sarah reported to first responders that she had experienced a fever and cough the week before. “At the time, our (COVID-19) testing capacity was just starting to ramp up. By the time we were taking her to surgery her results had not returned yet and we had to work under the presumption that she was COVID positive,” says Dr. Hakeos.

Dr. Hakeos, who performed all three of Sarah’s surgical procedures, was able to insert a screw to secure her pelvis to her sacrum and a plate that held the front of her pelvis together. In addition to the three surgeries she has undergone, she also received nine blood transfusions while in the hospital.

In the end Sarah would test positive for the flu but negative for COVID-19. The presumed circumstance ensured the hospital took special safety surgical precautions.

Reunions and recovery

Visitor restrictions put in place because of COVID-19 prevented Sarah from seeing her family for nearly three weeks. Sarah talked on the phone often with family and friends, especially with her husband and 7-year-old daughter, Bailey. Sarah was reunited with her husband 18 days after the accident, when she was prepping to be discharged from inpatient rehab at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township. It was a tear-filled moment. “When he walked in the rehab area, it was like the stars aligned. It was awesome,” she fondly recalls. “I hugged him, but we couldn’t kiss each other because of our masks.”

Sarah gave Dr. Hakeos and her care team rave reviews, after listing them all by first name she said “there were just so many people that I appreciate. They helped me get my life back together.” Sarah says of Dr. Hakeos “He did an amazing job. My husband says, ‘he put Humpty Dumpty back together again.’”

Sarah spent her time recovery at home by helping Bailey, her big helper and self-appointed nurse, with her homework. She is looking forward to making a full recovery, getting back to work and getting back on her bike again.

Want to learn more about caring for a broken bone? 

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