When Merri Kaye Bradley was airlifted to Bryan Trauma Center after a head-on collision at 60 mph, doctors said she had less than a 7 percent chance of survival.
Merri Kaye, a mother of two who worked at Crete High School for 10 years, is described by her son Hunter as someone who will do anything for her family. She is always in the stands at soccer games, track meets, and other events, supporting Hunter and her daughter, Kaitlin. “I don’t miss any of their games, ever,” Merri Kaye said.
Merri Kaye remembers very little from the day of her accident. An oncoming vehicle, whose driver had fallen asleep at the wheel, crashed into and landed on top of Merri Kaye’s vehicle. She was trapped for 45 minutes while first responders worked to free her from the vehicle and sustain her life.
When her family arrived at the hospital after the crash, Merri Kaye was in emergency surgery. Her pelvis was broken in three places and her lungs were punctured. Her legs, arms, elbow, and wrist were all broken and she had severe internal bleeding; she also experienced a lacerated liver and needed to have her spleen removed. “There was never a doubt in my mind that she would fully recover,” said Merri Kaye’s husband, Kole. “She’s stubborn. When she sets her mind to something, it’s going to happen.”
In the days and weeks after her accident, Merri Kaye needed blood transfusions to replace the blood she lost and help her survive. Donated blood was vital in her recovery process, as was her medical care team, the support of her family, and her determination and positivity. Merri Kaye set short-term goals for herself throughout recovery, such as attending her kids’ sporting events and her son’s high school graduation. “I knew if I could get to them, I would be okay. I had to meet those goals in order to get where I wanted to be.”
After a year of rehabilitation, Merri Kaye deemed herself back to normal. “Everyone always asks me how she is doing,” said Kaitlin. “I’m like, ‘Great!’ She’s a miracle, full recovery. It’s just awesome!”
Nebraska Community Blood Bank supplies blood to the Bryan Health system, including Merri Kaye’s local hospital, Crete Area Medical Center. Patients at more than 20 hospitals in Nebraska and western Iowa rely on NCBB blood donors to help ensure a stable blood supply is available.
You can watch more of Merri Kaye’s story here, when she was honored at Bryan Health’s 2016 Tribute to Trauma Champions Event