Rebecca Overman - Neuroscience

“I didn’t know it at the time, but hope is what I needed.”

In August of 2013, Rebecca Overman’s life changed forever. While volunteering for a children’s camp, Rebecca was in a traumatic golf cart accident—the golf cart flipped and she was ejected, landing on her head. When one of the nurses with her realized that Rebecca wouldn’t make it long enough for the ambulance to arrive, she called a friend who worked with Indiana University Health LifeLine. It just so happened that this friend of a friend was working when he got the call, in flight in the helicopter. He immediately came and picked Rebecca up, transporting her to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital.

During Rebecca’s stay at IU Health Methodist Hospital, she received the care that saved her life. Before the accident that caused her traumatic brain injury, Rebecca was a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) nurse at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. While she was at IU Health Methodist Hospital, her PICU nurse friends came to visit her frequently, offering her family support or a listening ear and helping her with her recovery.

During her healing, Rebecca and her family relied on their physician for support and encouragement. They were so thankful for the way he helped guide them through the recovery and healing process. In an emotional, uncertain time, the IU Health Methodist Hospital staff was able to provide the support and guidance that Rebecca and her family would not have received anywhere else.

“Patients admitted with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at IU Health Methodist Hospital receive spectacular care for several reasons,” says Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurosurgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine Richard Rodgers, MD.

“As a Level I Trauma Center, we have the full complement of surgeons, critical care physicians and other specialty services to provide state-of-the-art care in a rapid fashion. In our Neurocritical Care Unit, which is the largest in the country, collaboration is key. Surgical teams including neurosurgery and trauma, neurocritical care experts, nurses with advanced training, case managers and social workers all meet daily to discuss a team-oriented plan for each patient’s care. This meeting streamlines patient care in all aspects—from acute intensive care to discharge planning. More recently, we’ve gained the luxury of Inpatient Rehab Medicine consulting for all of our patients receiving neurotrauma care in order to address the complex rehabilitation needs,” Dr. Rodgers said.

While she was being treated, Rebecca realized she didn’t have any peers who were going through the same experience. The staff at the hospital set her up to talk with a young woman named Andrea, who was one of the most severely injured in the Indiana State Fair accident in 2011. Rebecca and Andrea became instant friends. Soon after they met, Rebecca discovered that Andrea was planning to run the Mini Marathon. “I thought that if Andrea is running, maybe I can run,” Rebecca said. “Andrea provided me the hope and inspiration I needed for strong recovery and healing. It was so great to have another friend who has had a traumatic brain injury.”

It would seem as though Rebecca had seen enough miracles in her life. But in 2014, she completed the Indianapolis Mini Marathon with Andrea. “The hope and inspiration that Andrea gave me was completely what I needed, even though I didn’t know it,” Rebecca said. “I was hopeful that perhaps telling my story could give someone with a traumatic brain injury hope or inspiration, too.”

And that’s exactly what her story did. After being interviewed by Channel 13 and telling her story on TV, she and Andrea had many people come up to them during the race to tell them how their stories had inspired them.

Rebecca has returned to part-time work in the outpatient Oncology clinic at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and her coworkers have continued to be overwhelmingly supportive. In fact, her manager and two of her coworkers have attended her therapy sessions in order to best learn how to help her get back to full-time work.  Rebecca loved the transition to outpatient Hematology Oncology last spring and is very thankful to be back in the clinic.

Thanks to our donors, we are able to support IU Health Methodist Hospital in providing the kind of care that makes miracles a reality for people like Rebecca Overman.