Two months after buying a sports motorcycle, Hialeah resident Erik Santana lost control in broad daylight after another vehicle cut him off in oncoming traffic.
The impact was so severe that Erik flew off the motorcycle and went air bound, his body hitting two cars and landing on the windshield of a third car before rolling onto the sidewalk.
“I opened my eyes, I couldn’t breathe,” he remembers. “I was thinking to myself, ‘My body hurts’; there was peeled skin. I thought I was paralyzed.”
When the accident occurred in 2006, Erik was just 26 years old. It was his first motorcycle and his first accident.
A witness called Hialeah Fire Rescue, which rushed Erik to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Throughout the ordeal, he never lost consciousness. He felt relieved to learn he was being taken to the right place to treat his severe injuries.
“I owe my life to those paramedics for taking me to Ryder Trauma Center,” said Erik. “My pelvis had two hairline fractures in which I nearly bled out from. I had missing muscle down my left arm, and multiple fractures in my hands.”
Luckily, Erik was wearing a helmet. If he wasn’t, his family fears he would not have survived.
“When I went into the hospital, all I saw was blood and his clothes on the floor,” said his mother, Magaly Agra. “I saw so many people working on him that I thought he wasn’t going to make it.”
After multiple surgeries later, Erik spent one month in the hospital recovering. He and his family are grateful to the team at Ryder Trauma for saving his life and giving him a chance at independence once again.
Santana recovered completely, including regaining the ability to use his right arm, which was his main concern because he is right-handed.
“The skills of the trauma team fascinated me,” said Erik. “The coordination seemed orchestrated.”