On May 12, 2015, Amtrak 188 derailed outside of Philadelphia. Eight passengers were killed and more than 150 were injured. Geralyn Ritter was in the first car, and she was thrown from the train with such intensity that her abdominal organs were forced through her diaphragm into her chest. Unable to breathe on her own and suffering massive blood loss, she was not expected to survive. After weeks in the ICU, dozens of surgeries over the next several years, as well as PTSD, chronic pain, depression and opioid dependence, Geralyn was faced with a daunting question: beyond mere survival after trauma, where is the path back to joy?
Bone by Bone shares her powerful story of resilience. With humor, grace, and no-holds-barred honesty, she describes the journey back to life and offers support and encouragement for those suffering from pain and trauma and for their caregivers. Bone by Bone deals honestly with the long-lasting impact of sudden trauma and extends hope—from the perspective of someone who has been there. And back.
About the Author
Geralyn’s doctors use the word “miraculous” to describe her survival and recovery. Today she lives a full life inspired by gratitude and offers hope and healing to many others. She is known for her distinctive laugh that fills a room and determined resilience in the face of personal and professional challenges.
A recognized expert in healthcare policy, Geralyn was determined to re-start her career after years of disability leave following the accident. She is currently executive vice-president at Organon & Co., a new company dedicated to women’s health. Prior to the launch of Organon in 2021, she was a longtime senior vice president of Merck & Co., Inc., one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies in the world. At Merck, her passion was leading the Company’s engagement on social and community issues and supporting forward-thinking governance at the highest levels of the company.
Geralyn and her husband Jonathan have been married for 23 years. Jonathan and their three sons traveled every step of the recovery journey with her, and their experiences as unexpected caretakers are an important part of her story.
Bone by Bone
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