Care After Crash Sparks Gift to Corkery Emergency Center

Carlisle man calls Lahey the “best that Boston has to offer”  

P.J. Jewell was sedated and unconscious, bones broken and jaw wired shut, when his fiancée arrived in the Intensive Care Unit at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center three years ago. She was struggling to absorb the sight when nurse Sue Perrier began briefing her on the treatment plan.

“She got halfway through her list and I just broke down,” said Ruth Jewell, now married to P.J. “I was overwhelmed. Sue reached across and said, ‘Don’t worry. This is just bones. We can fix bones and bones can heal. He’s going to be just fine.’ That’s when I knew I could handle everything from that moment forward.”

Hitting a stone wall

P.J. had been out for a ride on his new motorcycle when the throttle jammed, rocketing him into a stone wall near his Carlisle home. The impact shattered his face, broke two ribs, caused one lung to collapse and snapped an arm and a leg.

“Everything was broken, from top to bottom,” said Jacob Kim, MD, the attending physician in the Emergency Department when P.J. was brought in. “A lot of times, when people are this injured, they don’t survive. But he was very lucky — he didn’t injure his liver or anything that was going to be life-threatening.”

Now recovered from his two-week stay in the ICU, another week in the Acute Care Unit, months of rehabilitation and four surgeries, P.J. agrees that he was extremely lucky. Lucky not only because his injuries were treatable but because the Carlisle ambulance crew took him to Lahey’s Emergency Department — the only Level II trauma center between Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire. Trauma centers like Lahey’s provide 24-hour immediate care from general surgeons and specialty departments, including neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology and radiology. 

“I was truly lucky and blessed”

Thankful for the lifesaving care P.J. received and the kindness of the clinical staff, the couple expressed their gratitude with a major gift to the hospital’s new Joseph C. Corkery, MD, Emergency Center.

“Over the last three years since my accident, a recurring comment I hear is how lucky I was to live in Boston with all the amazing doctors, nurses and hospitals we have here,” said P.J., speaking at a charity golf tournament that raised $144,000 for Lahey Hospital & Medical Center on June 10. “Yes, this is true, but I was truly lucky and blessed by being sent to the best of the best that Boston has to offer — Lahey.”

Dr. Kim said seeing P.J. at the golf tournament was “a real treat.” “As an ED physician, you stabilize and try to get them where they need to go,” he said. “Seeing them thankful and doing well reconnects me to why I went into medicine.