OKEECHOBEE — Florida House District 55 State Rep. Cary Pigman is recovering after being struck by a car while riding a bicycle in Okeechobee last week.
Rep. Pigman was struck near the end of a two-hour, 27-mile bike ride late on April 2. The driver of the car reportedly stopped to help Rep. Pigman after the accident until Okeechobee County Fire Rescue could arrive on the scene. After calling his wife, Libby Pigman, to let her know what was happening, he was taken to Raulerson Hospital.
In his first official statement following the accident, Rep. Pigman described his harrowing experience in a post on his Facebook page.
“Upon arrival at the Raulerson Hospital emergency department, the entire staff leapt to action,” said Rep. Pigman. “They were superbly professional, kind and efficient. I know they were already busy and extra stressed with the COVID-19 virus. My right lung was fully collapsed; my left lung was filling with blood and fluid. No matter how much oxygen I breathed in, none was reaching my blood. Knowing that I had less than a couple of minutes to live, the emergency room doctor, Dr. Joel E. Munoz-Pagan, moved instantly to place a large tube into my right chest, then sedate me, paralyze me and place a tube into my windpipe so a ventilator could force oxygen in.
“My other injuries were fractures of bilateral upper two ribs, a fractured breastbone, a fractured first lumbar vertebra and a fracture of my left pelvis,” continued Rep. Pigman. “The nurses instantly stabilized me, placing multiple IVs, giving me fluids and pain medicines, and assisted the technicians to obtain important X-rays and CTs. The absolute skill shown by the ED nurses that day is a reflection of the selfless leadership and invaluable mentoring by director of emergency services, Kathy Selby, and CEO Bryan Melear.”
Before he was placed on a ventilator, Rep. Pigman requested to be transferred to Tampa General Hospital (TGH). His next memory after that moment was waking up in Tampa with his wife by his side.
“I saw Libby standing right beside me, touching my right forearm and I knew all would be OK,” remarked Rep. Pigman. “I spent four days in the ICU at TGH. Everyone, from physicians, advance practice professionals, nurses, PT/OT, dietitians, transport technicians, X-ray technicians, to housekeeping were wonderful. They all sped my recovery. I then spent two days on the trauma ward before being discharged to home. There are so many people, but in the haze, I can recall only a few. I mean no disrespect for those I don’t name, but Libby — and I want to particularly thank Aaron Alcorn in the ICU and Kate on the trauma ward. They are exemplars of nursing. They are towering angels.”
Rep. Pigman also thanked Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee for saving his life.
“If I have one lesson that I would like to impart from this experience — wear a helmet,” Rep. Pigman said bluntly. “While my helmet sustained significant damage during the crash, my brain did not. I didn’t even suffer a concussion. Bones heal, but often head injuries do not. I am so thankful and blessed that I am on the road to a full recovery, and I credit that to wearing a helmet.”
“Today I am walking with my walker while doing my pulmonary rehabilitation,” concluded Rep. Pigman. “I am getting stronger every day and I am anxious to return as quickly as possible to the ER to do the job I believe God gave me. It continues to be my honor to represent you in the 55th District of the Florida House.”