BURLINGTON, Ky. (CBS Local) — A Kentucky mother of seven who suffered an “internal decapitation” while riding her motorcycle recently met with the people who saved her life.
Nicole Thomas was riding her motorcycle on Aug. 16 near her Burlington home when she missed a curve and hit two vehicles. The impact threw Thomas into a ditch and ripped off her helmet.
“I felt some pain, so I thought maybe my neck was fine, my spine was fine,” Thomas told CBS affiliate WKRC.
Thomas is a nurse but had no idea she’d suffered a rare internal decapitation. The condition is often fatal when the skull becomes detached from the spine.
“They told me that, and I really just didn’t believe it. It was almost unbelievable because I know what that injury means,” said Thomas.
A flight team from UC Health Air Care flew Thomas to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
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“I remember holding someone’s hand in the Air Care, which I later found out was Amy, one of the Air Care nurses,” Thomas recalled.
“She had a lot of injuries, but her mental status was good,” recalled flight nurse Amy Swiencki.
Pilot John Boyle and nurse practitioner Nate Ellis were also on board.
“When you look back and see the injuries, you think, ‘Wow, she’s extremely fortunate,'” Ellis said.
Doctors were able to to reattach Thomas’ skull to her spine.
“I’m actually feeling good, considering. I’m moving a lot more now. I’m able to go back to work part-time,” Thomas said. “I have to use a cane, but that’s OK. I can walk, so I’m very grateful for that.”
Then last month, she met the Air Care flight crew.
“They just get out there and they do their job and they do it so well,” said Thomas.