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Former HackensackUMC Trauma Patient Reinvents Himself To Help Others

Ron Gold and Hackensack University Medical Center Dr. Saraswati Dayal.
Ron Gold and Hackensack University Medical Center Dr. Saraswati Dayal. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

HACKENSACK, N.J. – Four and a half years ago, Ron Gold was enjoying one of his favorite outdoor activities when his life flashed before his eyes.

“I was a big cyclist. I’d go on long rides on weekends up to Harriman State Park. On this particular Saturday, I was returning from a 50-mile ride with my friends, just a few miles from home on East Saddle River Road. All of a sudden, an SUV came barreling at us head on,” said Gold.

It was Nov. 26, the Saturday of Thanksgiving Day weekend in 2011. The driver of the SUV had fallen asleep at the wheel and hit Gold's friend first before hitting Gold head on.

Gold was transported to HackensackUMC by AirMed One. Dr. Saraswati Dayal, director of surgical intermediate care unit, department of trauma/surgical critical care and injury prevention, was the trauma surgeon on call.

Dayal repaired his ruptured diaphragm, removed his bleeding spleen, repaired the injury to his pancreas, packed the bleeding in his stomach and placed a tube into the left side of his chest. In addition, Gold had significant injuries to his right leg and his spine.

"I didn’t know if he was going to survive the surgery, and then when he did, I didn’t know if he would survive the night,” said Dayal.

After the initial surgery, Ron spent 51 days in the ICU. Then, he learned his life was forever changed when he was told he was now a paraplegic.

Gold turned the devastating blow that he’d never walk again into something positive. He decided to put his business sense to use based upon a new reality that home care is incredibly expensive.

Gold and his wife, Betsy, started LeanOnWe , a network of caregivers that people can hire privately and directly, and who have been thoroughly screened.

“With LeanOnWe, consumers can choose who comes in their home and they get to control the care without a middleman. What we’ve done is we have taken that hire-on-your-own model and we do all the homework for you,” explained Gold.

Gold credits the care he received at HackensackUMC as the catalyst for helping him to pick up the pieces of his life and move in a positive, new direction. “They put me in a position so that I could move forward and help me do something positive with my life."

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