JPS nurse refused to give up until a badly injured cyclist was identified

Posted Friday, Jul. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Prepare for emergency Health care officials recommend carrying identification to help with treatment in case of emergency. Helpful information includes: name, birth date, blood type, any allergies, contact information for next of kin, do-not-resuscitate information, names of prescription medicines and any pertinent medical information, such as diagnoses of diabetes or if fitted with a pacemaker. Source: JPS Health Network

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Two months after a hit-and-run motorist struck and killed a cyclist in east Fort Worth, police are still looking for the driver.

But thanks to the diligence of a registered nurse at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, the rider’s family members were able to say goodbye.

For three days after the badly injured rider arrived via ambulance at the emergency room, no one knew who he was. He carried no identification, and his head injuries were so severe that he never regained consciousness.

But then Jacqueline Nix, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit, came on duty.

The rider had been pronounced brain dead on his second day at the hospital, but remained on life support. His fingerprints didn’t match any databases, and no one knew who he was.

Nix set about trying to track down any details that would lead to his name.

“You could tell from his build that he was an avid cyclist. His heart was strong,” said Nix, 29, of Benbrook. “I was appalled that he wasn’t identified yet. I imagined myself in that family’s position.”

Nix, a bike enthusiast herself, started doing detective work. She recalled that when she bought her own bicycle, it had a sticker that included a serial number and her contact information.

While other nurses helped cover her patients, Nix went to the JPS Health Network’s emergency trauma center, where she was able to locate the cyclist’s high-end bike gear, including a helmet, clip-in cleats and a tire repair kit.

That told her that he likely had ridden a road bike.

She called the police impound lot, where the bike was being stored, and then called Fort Worth police traffic detective Matthew Mapes, who took the serial number to a local bike shop.

The shop traced the bike to a California man who had bought it for his son.

The rider was Jeffery A. Moorehouse, 52, a Fort Worth father of two grown daughters and a longtime employee of Lockheed Martin, who worked on several science and technology projects, including development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Later, police found local relatives, who arrived at the hospital to make the official identification and gave consent to use his organs for donation.

Moorehouse’s organs, which Nix said were very healthy, saved three lives.

His liver went to a 29-year-old Houston woman and his kidneys were used for transplantation in patients in California, a 49-year-old woman and a 67-year-old man, JPS officials said.

“I was not happy about his death, but I was excited we found his family,” Nix said. “I seriously was glued to my telephone. I didn’t want to miss that one lead. I went home that night relieved that his family knew where he was, even though it was the phone call you never want to receive.

“But knowing he would not be buried as an unknown person, there was closure for the day.”

Moorehouse’s supervisor Carl McMurray wrote a note to Moorehouse’s team at Lockheed Martin to let them know of his death.

Moorehouse, senior manager of propulsion systems, supervised more than 100 engineers at three sites. He worked on several programs, including the National Aerospace Plane and the F-35 and he held patents on some advanced technologies that were used in the F-35.

Now, Fort Worth police are looking for help to identify the driver, Mapes said.

Police believe that Moorehouse was riding north in the 8900 block of Randol Mill Road at about 7 p.m. May 11 when he stopped briefly.

He was struck from behind by a black vehicle, possibly a Ford Focus, which knocked him off his bike into the southbound lanes.

The driver left the scene, heading north on Randol Mill Road.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward. Call the Fort Worth police traffic investigations unit at 817-392-4850 with tips.

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326 Twitter: @jessamybrown

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