IU Health University Hospital

Nurse helped injured motorcyclist: “I just did what I needed to do.”

June 25, 2020

She was on her way to her day shift at IU Health University Hospital when she stopped to get coffee. The next thing she knew, nurse Kiley Vernor was jumping to the aid of an injured motorcyclist.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

When IU Health telephone operator Cindy Mills received a Sunday call from a man named “Sam Davis,” she passed along the information to IU Health Clinical Operations Manager Stacey Harvey. Davis was calling to track down a nurse who had helped an injured motorcyclist.

“As an operator, we have the opportunity to speak to such a diverse group of callers and Sam’s call made my day. It was very uplifting,” said Mills.

Davis, of New Castle, Ind. was going the extra mile for a nurse who went the extra mile. He didn’t know anything about her other than her first name was “Kiley” and she worked at IU Health. He wanted to recognize her bravery.

It was 6:30 a.m. Sunday when Kiley Vernor was on her way to her day shift in the medical intensive care at IU Health University Hospital. She stopped at Marathon gas station about five minutes from the hospital for coffee. As she was coming out of the convenience store she noticed a woman sitting sidesaddle on a motorcycle. A man was also seated on the three-wheel motorcycle.

“One minute they were laughing and it looked like he was showing her how to drive the motorcycle and the next minute they took off quickly. It appeared they couldn’t stop,” said Vernor, who joined IU Health in February.

What happened next brought Vernor and Davis to the aid of the seriously injured female.

“I’m guessing the motorcycle was going about 40 miles an hour up a hill,” said Davis. Vernor said at one point they collided with a street lamp.

“I couldn’t believe this was happening. I just ran over and saw the man was conscious and went on through a kind of wooded area where I saw the woman’s feet,” said Vernor. She immediately saw the woman was trapped beneath the wheel of the motorcycle, that weighed abut 500 pounds. She yelled for Davis who had just finished delivering gas to the station and was completing paperwork. He began to call 911 and ran toward the wooded area.

“I’ve ridden motorcycles off and on all my life so I knew it wasn’t good,” said Davis. Everything happened quickly. They managed to remove the motorcycle wheel from the woman’s chest. “She was having difficulty breathing and was unconscious. I kept checking her pulse and was preparing to start CPR when the paramedics arrived,” said Vernor. “She was wearing a dress, so I covered her up and kept talking to her telling her what had happened. When she came around she was confused and disoriented so I just tried to keep her calm,” she added.

Vernor was dressed in her IU Health red scrubs and Davis asked her if she was a nurse. The next day, he started calling the hospital to commend Vernor on her efforts.

“She was so calm and it just impressed me that she jumped in and helped someone in need,” said Davis, whose wife, Janna Davis, is a nurse at a New Castle hospital. “So often people don’t give nurses the credit they deserve. In this day and age, this was well deserved,” said Davis.

Vernor, originally from Kansas received her nursing degree from the University of Kansas in 2013. She said she has always wanted to be a nurse – influenced by her mother, Teresa Rickabaugh and her father Greg Rickabaugh, who are both nurses.

“Kiley has been a great addition to our team,” said her shift supervisor, Brandie Kopsas-Kingsley. “She has great clinical skills, awesome teamwork and a fun personality.” Vernor said her work with intensive care patients taught her to act quickly. “You never know when something will change. I was just in the right place at the right time” said Vernor. “Every single nurse I work with would have done the same thing.”

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