The Emily’s family loves to camp up north so in preparation for some upcoming trips, Eddy had taken the kids out west to cut some wood for campfires. While the girls were hanging out in the truck, they thought they heard someone call them to come. To Emily’s brother Eric’s horror, he watched as a large tree was coming down directly towards where his sisters were walking. They didn’t hear his screams and the tree fell directly on Emily. With herculean strength, he threw the tree off of her and Eddy and Eric gathered her up to get her into the truck to drive to where they could get cell coverage to call for help.
STARS met them on the road and worked feverishly for an hour to get Emily stable before airlifting her to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Meanwhile, Eddy called Lori at work and she made it to the hospital only minutes before STARS arrived. Lori recalls seeing a swarm of fifteen people look like they were attacking her daughter in the trauma bay. It was a terrifying scene…something out of a movie. The team was assessing her head to toe with multiple MRIs, scans and xrays. In addition to a traumatic brain injury, Emily had been impaled through the chest by a branch, suffered three skull fractures, six fractured vertebrae and had a broken ankle and ruptured spleen.
Her worried parents stayed by her side as she was in a medically induced coma for 1 ½ weeks. As she was slowly weaned off the sedation, it was difficult to watch her come to terms with some of the challenges before her. With a lot of support from the neurology team, brachial plexus clinic, physio and OT, Emily made incredible progress. One month after landing at the hospital, Emily was able to go home to continue her recovery.
She attended Gordon Townsend School for a month while she underwent intensive physiotherapy and OT. Lori says that the team has pushed Emily hard to help her get the best possible results and it’s required a lot of work and determination on Emily’s part. In November, Emily was able to transition back to her regular school and was so happy to be back with her peers.
Lori is immensely proud of her daughter and so very grateful for the support they have received as a family from the hospital throughout the course of Emily’s treatment and recovery. So many special relationships have been formed with nurses and specialists along the way – “They are a special breed, for sure!”
To hear more stories like this or to donate to the 2017 Caring for Kids Radiothon in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation visit www.KidsRadiothon.com