Children's Emergency Department is now located in Children's Tower: 1001 E. Marshall Street.

Learn more
View alerts close
A bike trick gone wrong brought Hannah to CHoR for lifesaving care
May 23, 2022
CHoR trauma patient Hannah Foster smiling in downtown Richmond

    A bike trick gone wrong brought Hannah to CHoR for lifesaving care

    Hannah Foster’s mom, Diana, describes her as spirited, adventurous and full of life. It’s not surprising then that the 14-year-old loves being outside and trying new tricks on her bike. That’s exactly what she was doing the evening of September 5, 2021 when things didn’t quite go as planned.

    An evening bike ride with an unexpected ending

    “I was casually riding my bike like I always did. I had learned a new trick that week, going up a curb,” said Hannah. “That time I turned too hard and fell. The handlebar jammed into my stomach. It was really painful, but I was by myself, so I had to basically crawl back home.”

    Because her injuries were internal, the severity of the situation wasn’t immediately obvious.

    “Hannah is pretty accident prone, so when she first got back, I told her to lie on the couch. I started gathering some things for her and when I got back, she was screaming in pain,” said Diana.

    They jumped in the car and went to the nearest hospital. As the medical team finished a series of tests, Hannah went into shock and broke out in hives. They gave her medication while everyone awaited the test results. At about 1:30 a.m., the doctor came in and explained that Hannah had a lacerated spleen and kidney. It was a trauma situation and she needed to come to our Level 1 pediatric trauma center.

    Moments later, Hannah and her mom were transported to CHoR by ambulance.

    Expert trauma care and a quick recovery at CHoR

    “When we got there, immediately there were 15 people swarming me–checking my neck, taking blood,” said Hannah. “By this point, the medicine was helping the pain. I’m a happy person in general, so I was joking around and making everyone laugh.”

    A chaplain waited and talked with Diana while the medical team was tending to Hannah. They then went to a room in the ER until doctors could read all the tests.

    “It turned out she didn’t have a lacerated kidney. She has cysts on her kidney, which we didn’t know previously, but they told us her injuries were very serious and she’d need to go to the PICU for a while,” said Diana.

    CHoR trauma patient Hannah Foster smiling in her hospital bedThat’s where our trauma surgeons and critical care doctors monitored her medical condition and recovery. Thankfully, Hannah’s spleen began healing on its own, and she didn’t need surgery. This was great news for many reasons, including that Hannah could have a baguette! She hadn’t been able to eat solids until they were sure wouldn’t be going into the operating room.

    “As a Level 1 pediatric trauma center, we have broad experience in recognizing and treating all aspects of childhood injury. Hannah’s bike accident which resulted in her handlebars injuring her abdomen is a familiar injury pattern,” said Dr. Jeffrey Haynes, trauma center director. “We also have extensive experience with spleen injuries which almost always allows us to get to the full recovery of a child without surgery or future consequences.”

    Hannah’s stay at CHoR was also shorter than expected. She was able to go home after only two nights in the PICU. But, that still allowed her plenty of time to make friends in the hospital – including one of her critical care physicians Dr. Vu Nguyen.

    “He was telling Hannah how to jump her bike properly so she wouldn’t get hurt next time,” Diana added with a laugh. “He did a great job of connecting with her and putting her at ease.”

    “I remember her describing her accident to me–that she was trying to jump off a curb. Then I asked her if she knows how to bunny hop. I told her I mountain bike and recommended she check out these funny British guys that have a YouTube/Instagram channel,” said Dr. Nguyen.

    Moving forward with a positive attitude and love for CHoR and VCU

    Today, she’s fully recovered and back to doing all her favorite things–playing basketball, volunteering at church, texting her friends, listening to Taylor Swift and serving as the house manager for her school’s drama program.

    When asked what she’d tell someone in a similar situation, Hannah replied, “I’d say to stay hopeful and see the good in the situation. It was so uncertain when I first got injured and they thought it was so serious, but everything turned out okay. So much of it is about the mindset. Now when I tell people about what happened, I don’t start with the scary stuff. I start with the fact that I got to meet a lot of people, tell a lot of jokes and watch a lot of movie musicals while resting in the hospital.”

    Her mom has her own advice.

    “If I had to do it again, I would go straight to CHoR. Two other times this year I’ve brought her there for unrelated situations. They’ve won me as a patient. It’s my first stop if there’s anything that needs to be checked out,” said Diana. “I feel like the people there care, and they really listen. I trust their care.”

    After her experiences at CHoR, Hannah is considering VCU for college in a few years.

    “I feel connected to the city and school, and the hospital,” she said.

    While Hannah hasn’t gotten back on her bike since the accident, her mom has gotten her a new helmet with a light on it for her evening rides this summer. With her new gear and her tips from Dr. Nguyen, Hannah will be ready to roll.

    CHoR re-designated as a Level 1 pediatric trauma center

    CHoR was recently re-designated as a Level 1 pediatric trauma center – the only in Central Virginia – by the Virginia Department of Health. This Level 1 designation means we have pediatric specialists available around the clock to provide life-saving emergency care and that we provide total care for every aspect of injury, from prevention through rehabilitation. Kids who have experienced a trauma often have injuries to multiple organs and as part of this advanced level of care, we have specialists in neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, plastic surgery, rehabilitation and more who work closely with our emergency and critical care teams throughout recovery.

    Discover more about how our trauma team cares for critically ill and injured kids 24/7.


    Subscribe to our blog

    Sign Up