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John LaMacchia v. Confidential

John LaMacchia, MD/PhD candidate UW Medical School, suffered serious bike injuries.
John LaMacchia, MD/PhD candidate UW Medical School, suffered serious bike injuries.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~ Mark Twain

A few years ago, on a dry, sunny day, John LaMacchia thought it was a perfect day for for a bicycle ride. He rode his bicycle southbound on 25th Ave. NE in Seattle. A man, driving a Mercedes Benz sedan, suddenly and unexpectedly made a left-hand turn directly in front of John. John did not have a chance. Though his bicycle was only traveling about 20 mph, John could not stop before colliding with the passenger’s side of Ralph’s vehicle. John violently struck Ralph’s vehicle head first before being thrown to the pavement. The driver of the Benz was cited for turning left without yielding to oncoming traffic.

Luckily, John was wearing his helmet at the time of the collision. However, despite these protective measures, he suffered a broken femur, facial lacerations, and traumatic brain injury as a result of the crash.

Immediately following the crash, medics transported John to the Emergency Room at Harborview Medical Center. The medic’s report notes left femur fracture, laceration above the left eye, and swelling of the upper left lip. An x-ray revealed a fracture of the left femur. Doctors pinned the fracture in the ER, and then sent John to the Operating Room where they surgically inserted a rod into the bone.

John has always been an avid cyclist.
John has always been an avid cyclist.

A couple days after the accident, John suffered acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by the effects of the collision. His heart rate soared and his blood-oxygen levels fell. As a result, doctors intubated John for four days. Doctors then removed the tube, but had to reinsert it when John’s breathing problems returned. Doctors were finally able to remove the tube permanently after a few more days. He was released 12 days after his admission.

It would be a long road to full recovery for John. He is currently a UW MD/PhD student, as has completed two years of medical school and three years of graduate (PhD) studies. He’s working toward his PhD in the Roth lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

SKW bike injury attorney, Karen Koehler, represented John. The result was a settlement that acknowledged the significant injuries that John sustained along with the time that he was forced to take off from his MD/PhD program.

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