On a beautiful spring morning, Robert Murphy was riding his motorcycle on the Angeles Crest Highway, which runs through the San Gabriel Mountains. His memories of what came next are spotty. “Suddenly, I was on my back,” Robert recalls. “I heard concerned voices and the sound of a helicopter in the distance.”
Robert had collided with an automobile and was lying precariously on the side of the mountain, seriously injured. Thankfully, Huntington Hospital’s emergency department supervisor Janet Henderson, RN, was on patrol with the Montrose Search and Rescue Team — and was not far from the scene of the accident. “I’m so lucky the team was only three minutes away when they got the call,” Robert says. “Another few minutes, and I might not be here today.”
When the team arrived, they found Robert’s left foot mangled. He had broken bones throughout his left leg, pelvis, hip and forearm. A major artery in his thigh was torn, and he had lost a lot of blood. But he was thankfully still alive.
Robert was quickly airlifted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Air Rescue 5 team to Huntington Hospital Trauma Center. He was given a rapid transfusion of blood and sent to the operating room. Huntington-affiliated surgeons Todd Borenstein, MD, and Sanjeev Puri, MD, reattached the part of Robert’s foot that could be saved, straightened the bones in his lower leg and fixed a compound fracture in his femur.
Robert woke up several days later. To avoid a long series of additional surgeries, he chose to have his leg amputated below the knee. Upon discharge, Robert spent a month in a skilled nursing facility. He is now happy to be back at home and remains positive about the future. He is waiting for his limb to heal so he can be fitted with a prosthetic leg.
While Robert’s injuries have caused immense pain and shock, he is extremely thankful for the care teams who treated him. In fact, he recently returned to Huntington to say thank you to those that helped save his life. “At least 40 people cared for me at Huntington Hospital,” he says, “and every single one of them played an important role in saving my life. I’m forever grateful to the whole team!”