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|A Clipper Visit: Jennifer Lyons|
|Written by Gillian Smith|
|Wednesday, 09 October 2013 08:56|
Four years after surviving a horrific car accident that left her with scars and a new stomach, one Duxbury resident is donating her time to raising money for research that could potentially save hundreds of car accident victims like her.
On Sept. 19, 2009 at approximately 1 a.m., Jennifer Lyons was riding home in the back of an extended cab pick-up truck after a Red Sox game when a drunk driver ran a stop sign in Duxbury at 80 miles per hour and T-boned the truck she was in. She did not have her seatbelt on.
The impact sent Lyons face-first through the side window and the truck dragged her until she was squished between the truck and the foundation of a building. With most of her internal organs pulled from her body, she was intubated at the scene and taken into immediate trauma surgery for 13 hours at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“It is highly unusual for first responders to intubate someone at the scene of an accident,” Lyons said. “But if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here today.”
When she emerged from surgery, she had hundreds of stitches in her face, three cracked ribs, 14 fractures in her pelvis, a sprained ankle and a new stomach made of infant bovine tissue.
“Some say it’s a miracle that I am alive,” she said. “I say it’s a miracle that I had Boston first responders and Dr. George Velmahos.”
Lyons said she does not remember anything about the accident, but credits the first responders with saving her life. What she does remember is what she calls physical and “emotional horror” when first seeing her reflection in the mirror.
“It was a long haul, with numerous ups and downs and the support of some amazing people, but slowly but surely my body started to recover,” she said.
This September marked four years since her accident and Lyons’s life has returned to normal. With a new resolve on life, Lyons has focused her energy on helping raise funds for a project Dr. Velmahos is currently working on. Velmahos has developed a “smart” technology intended for use by paramedics to slow the rate
of internal bleeding and keep patients alive longer at the accident scene. The project needs to raise $500,000 and will need five to six years of research in order to launch the technology.
“Every day is a risk,” Lyons said. “Every day there is an element of the unknown that, regardless of your type A personality, you can’t control.”
Lyons explained that Dr. Velmahos conducted an experiment with a bike pump, a Tupperware container and water, the results of which showed him that bleeding can be slowed down by increasing pressure around the wound. This would significantly impact accident victims.
Lyons has devoted her time to organizing a fundraiser to support Dr. Velmahos’ project. A masquerade ball, silent auction and Boston Uncorked wine tasting will take place at the Liberty Hotel in Boston on Nov. 1. Proceeds will go to support Dr. Velmahos’ project at the trauma center at MGH.
With her new lease on life, Lyons has returned to Duxbury for the time being and is focusing on fundraising. She is also in the process of starting up a yoga studio in Boston and taking on some clients through her law firm. She said she is happy to be back in Duxbury, especially after the amount of support she received from the town during her recovery.
“Some day I will be able to get through this story without tearing up,” she said. “The amount of support from the entire community was overwhelming and I am so grateful for that.”