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Cara Piccono Credits Benefis Emergency Services for Saving Her Life After Near-Fatal Motorcycle Accident

Ten years ago, Cara Piccono was on an evening motorcycle ride with her husband, Phil, when she was hit by a car in Great Falls. Riding behind her, Phil witnessed the horrific scene. “I couldn’t believe it. I saw Cara flying up through the air, spinning like a rag doll.” It seemed to happen in slow motion.

“I got off my bike and ran to Cara. She was laying there with her eyes closed and no response, nothing. I thought she died.”

–Phil Piccono

The severities of Cara’s injuries were grave. She had sustained massive trauma in the accident, with injuries to her brain, heart, kidney, and lungs, plus deep lacerations to her face, crushed ribs, scapula, a broken clavicle, and her heel was de-gloved.

If it had taken just a few minutes longer to start treating Cara, she wouldn’t be here today.

The Benefis Emergency Department (ED) team knew there was no time to spare. Cara was rushed into surgery. Phil gave permission to remove her entire kidney because it was so severely damaged. Cara was then kept in a medically-induced coma for almost two weeks.

“The staff and nurses were great, updating us all the time and telling us what was happening. The attention they gave her was wonderful.”

–Phil Piccono

After 14 days, Cara began gaining awareness. The next big step was taking her off the ventilator to see if she could breathe on her own—the first two attempts failed. The doctors said she had a 50/50 chance of making it.

Thankfully, Cara pulled through. It was a long road to recovery, but everything turned around once Cara started breathing on her own. “It was the biggest relief,” said Phil. “Just the day before, I didn’t think she was going to make it, but she was out of the woods.”

“When I was in the ICU and couldn’t communicate, to see the fear, heartache, and stress on my family was unbelievable,” reflected Cara. “But at the same time, to see the comfort that the nurses gave to my family, not just me as a patient, was amazing. We will never forget their kindness.”

“Benefis and her physicians saved Cara’s life.”

–Phil Piccono

The Emergency Department at Benefis is undergoing a much-needed renovation and expansion project so more lives like Cara’s can be saved in emergency situations.

This crucial construction project would not have been possible without our amazing donors, who have funded an incredible $2.5 million of this $12.5 million project.

The generosity and support of our donors is helping to ensure the future of world-class, life-saving emergency care for years to come for our community and the entire Northcentral Montana region.