By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Noel Geno and her father Wayne agree she wouldn’t look as good as she does and probably wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for the quick work of emergency response crews, North Mississippi Medical Center staff and surgeons at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Geno, 18, of Tupelo, was riding on the back of her co-worker Vincent Pacetti’s motorcycle on the morning of July 1 – she doesn’t remember where they were headed – when Pacetti careened off the road and into a drainage ditch along the new Palmetto Road and Natchez Trace Parkway intersection.
Geno said the road came to a three-way intersection but there was no sign to let them know the road didn’t continue.
She was rushed to NMMC where doctors and nurses evaluated her injuries, took X-rays and sustained her while they prepared her for a flight to Jackson.
Once in Jackson, doctors began to operate and since July 1, she has undergone 16 surgeries.
“I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for the emergency crews,” said Geno. “I feel lucky to eat solid foods again. I enjoy the smallest things now, like being able to take a shower standing up.”
Dusty Curry and John Goldman were part of the paramedic crew that responded to the scene.
She had fractured three vertebra, both hands and her left forearm; shattered her left hip; broke her upper jaw in three places; broke her right tibia, ankle and femur; shattered both cheeks and eye sockets and broke her nose.
“We’ve been doing it a pretty long while but compared to other accidents, she was one of the most critical I’ve seen. She was broken all over,” Curry said. “I didn’t expect her to make it to Jackson and it’s a blessing to see this young lady who has the rest of her life ahead of her.”
Goldman and Curry said it feels great to be a part of the team that was able to help Geno.
They never expected to be eating cake in the hospital breakroom with Geno three months after the wreck.
Paul Bailey, RN at NMMC, said they knew she needed to go to a level-one trauma center when she came into the hospital.
“I didn’t expect this, absolutely not, especially the way she looks. I figured she would survive because she’s young but she looks phenomenal,” Bailey said. “I never thought she would look as good as she does today.”
Geno plans go back to work at Buffalo Wild Wings in the coming weeks and enroll at Itawamba Community College in January.