On the Road to Recovery

June 15, 2020

DETROIT – For 32-year-old Sarah Stewart and her husband Kawan, March 22 was a typical Sunday morning when the couple went out for a leisure motorcycle ride. But a freak accident landed Stewart in the hospital with serious injuries.

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

An avid rider, Stewart’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.

Today, less than three months since the accident, Stewart is walking again. She underwent three surgeries and received nine blood transfusions at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a Level 1 trauma center, where she was hospitalized for 10 days.

 

“She’s doing remarkably well,” says William Hakeos, M.D., the orthopedic trauma surgeon who performed the surgeries and led Stewart’s care.” She’s got great function in her arms. 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. She’s obviously worked very hard with her rehab and has received a lot of support from her husband.”

The timing of her hospitalization coincided with Henry Ford putting into practice special safety precautions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only life-threatening and critical procedures were being performed at the time. Stewart ultimately tested negative for the coronavirus, but her surgery was performed using COVID-19 safety protocols. Her husband was unable to visit due to visitor restrictions but received daily updates by telephone.

Stewart finally saw her husband 18 days later after she was discharged to inpatient rehabilitation at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township, which is closer to the couple’s home in Washington Township. It was a tear-filled emotional 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.”

Stewart was discharged home after 10 days in rehab at Henry Ford Macomb. She is especially thankful for Dr. Hakeos and his care team as well as the rehab team for taking care of her. “There were just so many people that I appreciate. They were all awesome. They helped me get my life back together,” she says.

“I’m walking again already,” Stewart says. “I’m so thankful to be alive.” Of Dr. Hakeos, Stewart says “He did an amazing job.” “My husband says, ‘he put Humpty Dumpty back together again.’”

###

MEDIA CONTACT: Sal Giacona / sgiacon1@hfhs.org / 313.421.9108