ThedaCare: Local teen says thank you to ThedaStar and ThetaCare trauma staff

Teen Recovering After August Motorcycle Crash

NEENAH, Wis. – It’s been nearly four months since a motorcycle crash changed the lives of the Schinke family.

“On the night of the crash, everything seemed to happen so fast,” said Sara Schinke, Henry’s mother.

In late August, 13-year-old Henry was hit by a motorcycle while he was riding his bicycle in the Darboy area. The crash left a motorcycle passenger dead. Henry suffered critical injuries to his liver, kidney and pelvis. He also had broken bones.

“When I arrived at the scene, they told me that ThedaStar was called,” said Sara. “There were a lot of good Samaritans that night. It’s a miracle he survived.”

He was flown by ThedaStar the night of the crash and treated by trauma staff at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah. He was later flown to Milwaukee for additional treatment.  

Six weeks later, he left the hospital.

Now, after months of doctors’ appointments and therapy, Henry is saying thank you to those who took care of him during the crucial moments after the crash. Henry and his family visited the ThedaStar Communications Center, toured the hangar and met with the flight crew who provided compassionate care. The crew consisted of Erin Rusch and Jeff Grimm, ThedaStar Air Medical-Flight Nurses, and Nic Highfill, ThedaStar pilot.

“Our job that night was to make you as comfortable as possible,” Grimm said to Henry. “A big part of what we do is calming and assuring our patients so we can assess and treat their most immediate health needs.”

The crew showed the family the helicopter and explained how they treated Henry after the crash.

“Every second counts, every minute. That’s why we do what we do” said Rusch. “There is a lot of out of the box thinking and a lot of split second decisions being made to ensure the health and care of our patients.”

Members of the crew say it’s always special when patients come back to show their progress, especially when there is a positive outcome like Henry’s in case.  

Henry had the opportunity to see exactly where he was placed in the helicopter and learned about the tools nurses used during his care. Because of the injuries, Henry doesn’t remember everything from that night.

“It is cool visiting the ThedaStar team,” Henry said. “I’m glad I am able to come back and see everything and everyone.”

For Sara, she said knowing the details of how Henry was cared for are providing a sense of closure for their family.

“Touring the helicopter and hangar is truly amazing,” she said. “I wanted to know what it looked like and who cared for Henry that night.”

The Schinke family says they are grateful for the difference ThedaCare and ThedaStar have made in their lives.