On July 16, 2016, at 2:20 a.m., Mary Perkins got the call that every parent fears. Her son, Andrew, then 28, had been in a serious car accident and was being airlifted to the hospital with severe injuries.
The accident occurred near Beech Creek, Pa., where she lives. Except she wasn’t in Beech Creek. “I was at my family’s camp in Canada,” the 54-year-old recalls, some six hours away.
When she arrived at Andrew’s bedside at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest Burn Center, she discovered the extent of his injuries. In addition to having third-degree burns on 25 percent of his body, plus second-degree burns elsewhere, he had broken his neck and numerous ribs, and his right leg was broken in multiple places, including a completely broken femur and shattered heel. Andrew also had emergency surgery to remove his spleen and repair his lacerated liver at the first hospital where he was taken. Clearly, he had a long road to recovery, and his mother was determined to be by his side.
Minutes from her son
Thankfully, Mary didn’t have to worry about where she would stay, because the Hackerman-Patz House (HPH) was right on the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) campus. HPH, open since 2011, is a family lodging center exclusively for families of LVHN patients.
HPH has 20 rooms, priced well below hotel rates – just $45 a night. Financial assistance is available to those who qualify. Check-in is offered around the clock, says Kelley Gold, manager of guest services at HPH, “because accidents don’t happen between 9 and 5.” People can stay at HPH as long as they need. Mary stayed for almost three months.
“The staff there was unbelievable. It was a phenomenal experience,” she says. “They were very accommodating with anything I needed.”
Road to recovery leads to HPH
When Andrew eventually left the hospital in October 2016, Mary knew he would need multiple follow-up appointments with doctors. “We could have found a physiatrist or other doctors near where we live,” she says of their home some 165 miles from the Lehigh Valley, “but knowing that we could stay (at HPH) – plus the care we received from all the doctors at Lehigh Valley – it is worth making the trip.” In fact, Andrew and his mom have been back to stay at HPH almost a half-dozen times since October. Adds Mary, “The staff, the facility, I would recommend it without hesitation.”