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Sarah's Story

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A young woman is still recovering from a car accident.

On July 29, 2012, Sarah Gebhardt, 15, was on her way to Bozeman with her brother, Jake, when she got into a car accident that left her in a coma.

"And so we like drove on straight towards the left side of the road and we rolled off," she said. "And yeah, I kind of blacked out."

Sarah was treated at St. Vincent Healthcare's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for a serious head injury and multiple fractures.

After waking up from her coma, she remembers being confused about where she was. She then went through physical therapy.

"I remember like the first time sitting up and I was kind of on my own, kind of not," she said. "It just like made me so happy. I think that was the first emotion I remembered."

Sarah says her fast recovery probably comes from her sources of support. St. Vincent tries to keep patients close to their loved ones.

"Those families that live close can be here and be where it is home and where it is familiar instead of a strange place where they don't have a support system that they normally would being close to home," said Brynde Vallevik, clinical supervisor in pediatrics and one of Sarah's nurses.

Sarah says she considers the nurses her friends.

"I went up to visit her a few times. She came down to visit me a few times. She's still more of a friend than a nurse."

And her brother, Jake, encourages her to be better.

"I've seen her to where she is now," he said. "But it's really hard for me because being her bigger brother, I've seen where she was before the accident, so I expect her to get back to there and I'm hard on her that way."

Sarah sees her brother as her biggest source of inspiration.

"When he got out of the hospital, I was set on getting out," Sarah said. "And then when he was going to school, I wanted to go to school even though I hate school. I was like set on trying to recover like he did. I wanted him to be proud of me because he's my brother and him being proud of me is like the second best feeling in the world."

St. Vincent is currently the only hospital in the area that has a Pediatric ICU, allowing patients like Sarah to remain close to their sources of support.