Bike accident gives Nurse a different view from Intensive care

November 8, 2016

“I never thought that one day I would be the patient in intensive care,” Jennifer Tucker.

Do you remember who inspired you to follow a particular profession? Was it your parents or another relative? Maybe something you saw on television sparked your interest. Being the daughter of a vascular surgeon certainly gave Brisbane’s Jennifer Tucker an early apprenticeship in medicine.

“As a little girl I remember answering the phone when nurses from hospital called to report on patients,” says Jennifer.

“On Sunday mornings, I would often accompany Dad on his rounds and I’d go with him to visit patients on Christmas Day”.

So it seemed Jennifer’s path was destined. After finishing school in 1984, Jennifer started training to be a nurse at the Royal Brisbane Hospital where she worked for 10 years.

“I loved working as a Registered Nurse on the wards.  I never thought that one day I would be the patient watching from an intensive care bed,” says Jennifer.

On June 10, 2015, Jennifer, an avid cyclist, was involved in a terrible accident.

“ I was riding down a very steep hill and lost control, crashing into a barrier.”

Jennifer was taken into Accident and Emergency and a CT scan showed horrific injuries.

“ I had a belly full of blood, a renal artery that was bleeding and had no kidney attached,” says Jennifer.

A decision had to be made quickly because it was unclear if Jennifer was bleeding from other injuries. She was taken into theatre and opened up “pretty much from neck to knee”. Jennifer’s injuries were so severe, medical staff later told her she could’ve died that morning.

“My kidney was in pieces in my belly, I had a torn spleen, a bruised bowel, several fractures and a punctured lung,” says Jennifer.

After delicate and emergency surgery, Jennifer spent a night in intensive care followed by two weeks in hospital.

“The medical team at RBWH saved my life, they were amazing.  I believe I received a standard of care that would be hard to beat anywhere in the world,” says Jennifer.

The Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital treats 2000 patients each year with a 92 per cent survival rate.

“I am part of that survival rate.”

Jennifer will share her story at the RBWH Foundation’s HeARTfelt Dinner at Royal on the Park on November 4.

All proceeds from the dinner will benefit the life-saving work of the Burns Trauma and Critical Care Research Centre at the RBWH.

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