TROY – Cathy Peters lives on a farm in Versailles with her husband and three children. One day, nearly a year ago, while her husband was in Nashville for work, the unthinkable happened.
“We sat and we waited, and we could hear the sirens coming from town,” Cathy remembers. “And I was like, ‘how, how did you do that? What did you do?’” Cathy was speaking to her daughter, Ellen, who had just returned home from school for Christmas break.
Cathy’s husband does the majority of the work around the farm, “but when he’s travelling, I do help take care of things for him,” she says. “I would do the chores in the morning and as I was finishing, just getting the last little bit of hay to feed, as I turned, I noticed the stack of the big square bales was starting to come down. Somehow the top bale kind of missed my head. And then the second bale landed on me and pinned me underneath.”
Cathy’s daughter had just looked at a Snapchat that her mom posted of herself and the sheep.
“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s really cute, mom with the sheep this morning,’” Ellen recalls. “Then 30 seconds later I got a phone call from her saying to come out to the barn. I don’t even remember if I had time to put on shoes.”
Ellen ran out to the barn and found her mother under the bale from her waist down. “She was telling me to go get the skid loader… hop in there and get the bale off. And I couldn’t figure out a way to do that without skewering her or hitting her with it or hurting her worse,” Ellen says. “So I just looked at her and said, ‘On the count of three, I’m going to lift this up.’ And I don’t know how it happened, it’s kind of a blur for me … I just lifted it up and she was out before I knew it.”
“That’s not possible for, you know, a young lady to be able to lift a thousand pounds just directly up off there,” Cathy says. “So I knew that those were God’s hands working through her to save me, to free me out of there.”
Versailles EMS worked alongside CareFlight to transport Cathy to Upper Valley Medical Center and then to Miami Valley Hospital.
“The first thing we do is we get into the ambulance that brought the patient and I just start at the top and I say, you know, what happened?” says David Fugate, RN, flight nurse, paramedic for CareFlight. “Then I do my assessment. In general, she had almost every rib in her chest broken. She had multiple pelvic fractures … that’s a very hard bone to break and it’s a very difficult way to break it and that’s an indicator of significant injury in a patient if their pelvis is unstable.”
“Patients that have the significant rib fractures like Cathy and the multiple traumas come to the ICU for at least 24 hours so that we can keep a close eye on them and the respiratory status,” says Patti Brunett-Wolpert, trauma program nurse practitioner.
Cathy suffered 21 broken ribs, scapular, lumbar, sacral, tibia, fibula, toe and multiple pelvic fractures, as well as a pelvic hematoma.
“Her pelvic injuries were probably the reason that she needed level one care from an orthopedic standpoint,” says Jennifer Jerele, MD, orthopedic surgeon. “These are not managed by a lot of just general orthopedic surgeons. She also had a fracture dislocation of her ankle that needed more urgent care, as well.”
“Dr. Jerele was wonderful from the minute I met her, and she was telling me what all my injuries were, assessing everything … letting me know what the game plan was and how things would be taken care of,” recalls Cathy.
“Cathy is doing great. She’s a very resilient and just pleasant woman,” Dr. Jerele says. “She was so self-motivated and had a great support system around her, which I think is really important.”
“I’m very blessed. I’m doing very, very well,” Cathy says. “We’re very blessed to be as close in proximity to Miami Valley Hospital as we are. We were in Upper Valley Medical Center in rehab for Christmas that year; being with my kids and my husband was the most important part, and that I was still here. So, there was a lot to celebrate.”