In February of 2011, Lauren Archer was involved in a
bicycle accident that changed her life. Archer was out for a weekend ride with the St.
Pete Bike Club when she fell behind the main group of riders as they headed
toward the Don CeSar hotel.
As Lauren approached the drawbridge on the westernmost span of the Pinellas
Bayway, she didn’t notice the uneven patch of cement just before.
She remembers checking her speedometer; it clocked her at 22 mph.
Suddenly, the narrow front tire of her bike hit the rough cement and the
handlebars wrenched out of Archer’s hands. Lauren was thrown forward
over the handlebars and landed on the pavement. Her arm was crushed and
she sustained a compound fracture.
Archer is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who moved to Tampa from
Ohio to operate at All Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital
in Tampa and at Largo Medical Center. Until her accident, Archer performed
major surgeries, including breast and facial reconstructions and pediatric
plastic surgery. Nearly three quarters of her practice was reconstructive
surgery, which is often lengthy and arduous.
Three years after her bicycle crash, her arm has not fully recovered and
she limits her surgeries to light, office based procedures.
After her initial recovery from the trauma, Archer was relieved and thankful
to be alive and have her arm. She now works in plastics part-time, still
cycling about 100 miles a week on a different bike.
She knows, though, that her limited role can’t last forever, though,
and is working to adapt to what she defines as a “new normal”.
Her story remains unfinished and she is considering a new career.
Archer is thankful for what she does have and feels tremendous compassion
for those who suffer severe
traumatic brain injuries or lose their lives in bicycle accidents.
Tampa Bay Times