June 7, 2016

"A 4-year-old boy who was 'clinically decapitated' in a recent car accident in Idaho survived after a rescuer resisted the urge to pick up and cradle the screaming child..."

"... and instead held his head in place for a half-hour, most likely saving his life, his mother and the rescuer said...."
Killian’s skull was separated from his spine....

Leah Woodward and her husband, Joel Woodward, an officer with the Nampa, Idaho, Police Department, were driving home from a camping trip when they saw the accident and stopped to help....

Officer Woodward broke into Ms. Gonzalez’s vehicle using a hitch. Ms. Woodward sat the boy upright and held his head in place, Ms. Gonzalez said.

“Inside, I am panicking, and I am thinking, ‘I don’t know what I am doing,’” Ms. Woodward told the television station. She held the boy still until emergency medics arrived, it said.... “Thank God Joel knew what was needed because it definitely saved his life on that day,” she wrote, referring to her husband....
The article quotes a spinal surgeon, Nicholas Theodore, who has reattached 60 skulls to spines. The injury tends to happen to children, because their "head is like a bowling ball on a stick... Their head sort of bobbles."

25 comments:

Bob Boyd said...

'her car skidded and went into a lane of oncoming traffic, colliding with another vehicle.
“The last thing I remember is looking back at my baby,”'

That mean ol' car. Why would it do that to a helpless mother and child?

Fred Rawlings said...

Yep, he did the right thing, as his training taught him. i learned this as an EMT in 1973.
The most amazing thing i ever saw was a guy we brought in by ambulance paralyzed in a diving accident, neck down. We had waded into a shallow lake and gotten him on a spine board.
Two neurosurgeons showed up at the ER (small town in florida, we didn't have on staff ER doctors at that time.)
The kid was still on our stretcher, Dr. T grabbed his head, Dr. B grabbed his feet, they counted to 3 and both yanked the kid a half a dozen times. The vertebrae separated before the spinal cord had swollen and the kid started moving his feet.
Guess he turned out ok, but paramedics never know what happens to their patients unless it is in the paper.

Saint Croix said...

wow

holding the kid's head in place for thirty minutes while he's screaming bloody murder right in your face?

she is tough

MadisonMan said...

@Bob Boyd. (chuckle)

The story wouldn't pull at your heartstrings if that sentence were more factually written as The last thing I remember was driving way too fast for the rainy conditions. I caused the car to skid, and then I looked back at my baby...

coupe said...

"...her car skidded and went into a lane of oncoming traffic, colliding with another vehicle."

The picture of the accident site tells the story: Rain slick highway.

Add to that older tires, and speed, and you can lose control if enough oil rises in a patch on the surface.

The unlucky thing, was that you can drive for an hour on that road and never see another car.

Then too, the road is covered in snow in the winter, but less accidents because people know to slow down.

Put this note on your dashboard: Wet roads are insidious.

Michael K said...

I have seen this in teenagers but the separation was enough to pull the carotid arteries out of the skull. The kid was decapitated except for the skin. The spinal cord was already gone.

Meeeea said...

Had just arrived home from work, my kids playing in front yard, lots of neighbor's kids out playing, Old-school van rolls down the street and a 3 y.o. directly across the street on his tricycle rolls down the driveway, van hits him, he literally does a 360 under the van and is laying flat on his back in the middle of the burning hot street. The actual trike down the driveway and him under the van was as if it was in slow motion, and incredibly horrifying. But at the same time, I instantly and instinctually ran into the street, (screaming for others to call 911) and laid on top of him, holding him very firmly as still as possible in the position he was in. I was sobbing, telling him it's going be okay, he was of course screaming, and even though it broke my heart to not scoop him up and comfort him and maybe drive him to the ER myself, we waited.

I remember someone came along and put cardboard under my legs (I still had my heels, nylons, skirt-suit on) as I guess the pavement was that hot (Northern Cal, 90+ out) but oddly I don't remeber feeling it. I do remember them asking to put it under the child, and I said no, we are not moving him one bit. FD and paramedics arrive, backboard him, and off to ER just as him Mom was arriving home. Those of us that saw it happen were certain he had to have life-threatening injuries.

Several hours later, Mom and child arrive home--he was perfectly fine. Barely a scratch on him, thankfully!

Bob Boyd said...

"Old-school van rolls down the street"

I wonder if it was Laslo on the prowl.

Meeeea said...

if there was a "swoosh" sound from the van it'd be him!

Argh, and I have an echocardiogram coming up, all that swooshing sound is going to have Laslo living in my head.

Larry J said...

The article mentioned that it wasn't just rain but a hailstorm. I don't know about this particular accident, but I've seen hailstorms out West that cover the streets like marbles. In heavy rain (often a given in a strong hailstorm), she might not have seen the hail in time to slow down. Again, I don't know the particulars of this accident and lacking that, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Fernandinande said...

"head is like a bowling ball on a stick"

Making a head on a stick

khesanh0802 said...

St Croix nails it. One tough lady.

tim maguire said...

Holy Crap! Glad it wasn't me having to make that decision.

I don't know what else to say.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

I hope they include something like this in next season's GOT. It would make for an interesting twist on their next decapitation scene.

Yancey Ward said...

Is the kid paralyzed from the neck down? I read the article and nothing was said about the recovery prospects.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Well done Woodwards!

Larry J said...

Yancey Ward said...
Is the kid paralyzed from the neck down? I read the article and nothing was said about the recovery prospects.


It may be too soon to know. They can test to see if he can move his fingers and toes but I doubt they want him attempting to move very much just yet.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

He does not talk about the accident.

I hope, and think it is likely, that he does not remember it at all.

Yancey Ward said...

Larry,

I suspect that he is paralyzed from the neck down. I can't imagine the story would omit his not being so, and can easily understand why they would omit its being so- it undercuts the feel-good nature of the story

Smilin' Jack said...

""A 4-year-old boy who was 'clinically decapitated' in a recent car accident in Idaho survived after a rescuer resisted the urge to pick up and cradle the screaming child...""

Not sure what 'clinically decapitated' means, but I'm pretty sure people who are actually decapitated don't scream.

CatherineM said...

Not paralyzed. Article says he is walking unassisted now, but his equilibrium is still off.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Smilin' Jack said...

Not sure what 'clinically decapitated' means...

In this case, clinically is another word for not.

Yes, this was a very serious injury, and had the rescuer acted in the instinctive way rather than the trained way the child could easily have been killed, or at least paralyzed. The tendons, ligaments, and muscles that support the head on the spinal column were severed. However, the spinal cord itself suffered little if any damage. Same with his airway, arteries, and veins. None of which would be true of an actual decapitation.

mikee said...

Back in my Baltimore neighborhood, a little old lady on our block pulled her car out into a street, causing a speeding bicyclist to T-bone her land yacht. The cyclist had multiple broken bones, some compound fractures, and was attended for the 20 minutes it took to get an ambulance by my neighbors, who just happened to be a cardiac surgeon, an ER nurse, an ER pediatrician and a surgical nurse.

The thing that impressed me as I watched them was that they, too, immobilized the stricken man, right there in the street, and immobilized every extremity on him as quickly as possible. When the EMTs arrived the guy had not moved a muscle other than to moan. And he survived his severe injuries, partly because nobody helped move him out of the street.

natatomic said...

People will roll their eyes at the changing laws, but THIS is why they keep pushing back the age minimum for forward-facing car seats. 1 year old is the absolute minimum, but many states are changing it to 2 years old, per the recommendations of the AAP, although they still suggest you wait until your child reaches the maximums of your carseat before turning around (which is usually 3-4 years old). Obviously not many people still rear-face 4 year olds, but it actually can be done for most children if you choose a car seat with high maximums for rear-facing.