November 22, 2014 was supposed to be a happy day for then 18-year-old Michèle Crosby of Welland. It was her mother’s birthday and they were looking forward to a nice celebration.
“I was driving home from work at about 1:00 in the morning,” Michèle recalls. “The last thing I remember was seeing headlights and hearing a horn. Another driver came into my lane and hit me head-on.”
Michèle’s mother Jeannine remembers being awakened by her husband with the devastating news.
“He jarred me awake and said that an officer was at the door because Michèle had been in an accident,” says Jeannine. “I just prayed that she would be okay. I didn’t want to lose her.”
After being transported to the local hospital in Welland, Michèle was airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital. She had 28 broken bones, including her C5 vertebra, collarbone, wrist, pelvis, femur, patella and both ankles. Michèle was rushed into a 9-hour emergency surgery, where Dr. Brad Petrisor and Dr. Bill Ristevski operated on her simultaneously.
“I had metal plates and screws put in throughout my body,” says Michèle. “My heelbone was shattered, so they put in a plate and nine screws to hold it in place. Another six screws are in my humerus.”
Michèle stayed at Hamilton General Hospital for two and a half weeks, where she slowly regained her strength and began her long road to recovery.
“I was scared about the future. I was told that I might not be able to walk again or be able to play the piano.”
– Michèle Crosby
According to Jeannine, who stayed at the hospital with Michèle for the duration of her stay, the high level of care offered at The General was “a very positive experience during a very dark time. There are no words to describe the care we received. It was above and beyond any expectations.”
After her stay at The General, Michèle was transferred to a community hospital in St. Catharines. Since being discharged and returning home, she has already returned to The General for sciatic nerve surgery and an operation to remove the plate in her heel.
“The accident has changed my life,” she says. “I’m always in pain. I have a hard time walking and sitting for a long time, but thanks to the staff at the hospital, I can still do 90 per cent of the things that they told me I might not be able to do. I can’t thank them enough.”
Michèle’s experience has given her a new perspective on the importance of donor support.
“Donations are really important. Without them, the hospital wouldn’t have all the equipment it needs and my recovery wouldn’t have been as successful as it’s been.”
View Michèle’s story below and consider donating to Hamilton General Hospital Foundation by clicking here.