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Trauma is 24/7

Trauma Patient Survives Tragic Accident

In early 2014, Sarah Bryhan (left) and Alisa Robertson spent more than a week together in Haiti working with orphans.
In early 2014, Sarah Bryhan (left) and Alisa Robertson spent more than a week together in Haiti working with orphans.

They had plans. Big plans. Ones they were excited about. But, sometimes plans don’t always work out. For 18-year-old Alisa Robertson and her friend, 19-year-old Sarah Bryhan that’s exactly what happened.

"We have a lot of really good memories together," says Robertson. "I have a lot of things to hold on to."

The two met at school. They were both taking classes at Bellevue Master’s Commission, a leadership program through the Bellevue Christian Center. They were big dreamers, who wanted to make a difference in the world. In early 2014, they had their chance, as they embarked on a mission trip to Haiti.

"We did a lot with the orphanages," remembers Robertson. "Sarah loved all the kids that were there. We painted houses, packaged meals and really poured ourselves out, just sharing the love of Jesus."

After spending eight days in Haiti, the girls returned home to finish their classes. On May 16, they loaded up Bryhan’s car and started driving to Robertson’s house. Around 12:30 p.m., Bryhan stopped at an intersection, then turned left. A semi was coming their way.

"I remember seeing it come and then waking up inside the car," describes Robertson. "The semi pushed us into the other lane of traffic, then into the guardrail, which went through the floorboard of Bryhan’s car and into the back window. The guardrail was basically holding the car around my body so I wouldn’t get crushed."

The car driven by Sarah Bryhan was pushed into a guardrail by the semi.
The car driven by Sarah Bryhan was pushed into a guardrail by the semi. The guardrail cradled Robertson’s body, keeping her from being crushed by the impact. (Photo courtesy: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office)

The guardrail sliced Robertson’s leg, cutting an artery and chipping the bone. She also suffered a broken cheekbone and stretched ligaments in her neck.

"From the looks of the accident and the injuries I have, it’s incredible that I’m even alive," says Robertson. "It took rescuers 45 minutes to get me out of the car, two Jaws of Life, 13 men and three different departments. They never gave up."

Robertson could hear Bryhan breathing next to her, but unfortunately, her injuries were much worse. She died at the scene of the accident. Robertson was flown to The Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition. The hospital’s trauma team was prepared to provide the highest quality of care.

"I had surgery on my leg the night of the accident," explains Robertson. "There was this nurse that stayed with me for two hours, even though her shift was over. Her name was Mary. I felt really safe, which is what I needed."

A few weeks later, Robertson had surgery to repair her cheekbone. She still wears a brace around her neck and will be in a wheelchair for a few more months. Overall, doctors are very pleased with her progress.

Alisa Robertson
Alisa Robertson plans to go back to school in the fall, working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in counseling. She wants to help other girls who are going through difficult situations.

"I’m glad that I got to experience what I experienced at the med center and not anywhere else," she says. "There were a lot of people who were really good to me."

As for the future, Robertson plans to go back to school in the fall, working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in counseling. She wants to help other girls who are going through difficult times.

"Sometimes there are questions that have no answers and you have to be okay with it," she says. "Down the road, later in your life, those questions will be answered. I think about Sarah every day, but God has comforted me in a way that I know I’ll be okay. I have an incredible story to tell people. I’m really excited about it."

For more information about the hospital’s trauma center, visit www.nebraskamed.com/comprehensive-trauma-center. Trauma is 24/7. The Nebraska Medical Center’s trauma team is prepared to handle any injury, at any time, for any age.