As Kristin Corbett McCoubrey was driving to work early one morning, she suddenly saw a car coming directly at her from the other direction. There was a terrible crash. The next thing the 36 year-old Belchertown resident knew - she was pinned inside her car, unable to move.
Emergency crews arrived to find Kristin in critical condition. She’d broken 12 bones, including those in her neck, back, and sternum. In addition, she’d suffered a blunt cardiac injury, internal bleeding, and a detached colon.
“I was going in and out of consciousness,” Kristin remembers. “The ride to the hospital seemed to take forever.”
When she arrived at the ER at Baystate Medical Center, the only Level I Trauma Center in the region, time was working against her. In fact, she would learn later, the paramedics had estimated that by the time they arrived at the hospital she had only a couple minutes to live.
“When we got to Baystate, their emergency trauma team of doctors, nurses, and emergency room technicians surrounded me,” Kristin says. “I knew then that I was going to live.”
But it wasn’t going to be easy. She would need multiple surgeries. There would be 12 days in the hospital and then months of rehabilitation. “I had to relearn how to do everything, including using a fork, and walking.”
It wasn’t until about nine months later that Kristin was able to return to her teaching job at Woodside Children’s Center in Amherst. Though rehabilitation is an ongoing process, with her positive attitude, she is determined to get through this ordeal stronger than ever.
She expresses deep appreciation for the medical care she received. “They were awesome,” she says. “The emergency team and trauma surgeons at Baystate are just so totally committed to the work they do. They were all so compassionate and caring. I simply wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Dr. DeBusk and Baystate. They saved my life. ”