On a December evening in 2015, Rich Johnson found himself kneeling on a Richmond city street beside his critically injured wife, Joyce.
Joyce was thrown from a tourist pedal trolley, which is a pedal- and motor-powered vehicle that seats about 12 people. The trolley then ran over her pelvis, and at the same time, her leg became caught in the gears, causing her to be dragged for a short distance.
The paramedic who was kneeling beside Rich that evening told him Joyce needed to go to VCU Medical Center, and the two years and nine months of lifesaving care that followed is what inspired Joyce and Rich to make a very big announcement this May.
At VCU Health’s annual Shining Knight Gala, the Richmond couple shared with the hospital trauma teams and first responders in attendance that they would donate $1 million to support and name the surgical trauma intensive care unit where they spent the harrowing hours, days and weeks following Joyce’s accident.
It was early in the morning after Joyce’s accident when her surgeon found Rich, who had been up all night in the emergency department waiting room.
The surgeon explained that Joyce had suffered broken bones in about 27 places, including her pelvis, leg, sacrum and ribs. She also needed a skin graft for lacerations on her leg. She had lost nearly half of the blood in her body by the time she arrived at VCU Medical Center, and likely had less than 20 minutes to live if the bleeding continued.
The surgeon told Rich that VCU Health teams were planning the first of what would eventually be nine surgeries, which included implanting a rod in Joyce’s leg, screwing three pieces of her delicate and nerve-filled sacrum back together, and reconstructing her pelvis.