Thursday, November 22, 2018

Internal decapitation 2

It looked as if she had been sent to the guillotine.

That was the assessment of a doctor in Michigan after a mother of two was internally decapitated during an Aug. 16 car crash in Cedar Springs just outside her home, as her husband stood in the driveway awaiting her arrival, WOOD-TV reports.

“He was looking at my car when she hit me,” the crash victim, Lila DeLine, told the station.

DeLine’s mangled car landed in a nearby ditch and her husband, Ben, raced over to the scene, quickly securing his wife’s head as the other driver in the two-car wreck held a phone to the frantic husband’s ear so he could speak to police dispatchers.

Dr. Charles Gibson, a trauma and acute care surgeon at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, said the man’s quick thinking likely saved his wife’s life.

“Just her getting here is nothing short of a miracle,” Gibson told the station. “Most people don’t even make it from the scene of the crash with this sort of injury.”

Internal decapitation — which results from extreme trauma to ligaments, muscles and joints connecting the skull to the spine, leading to the dislocation of the head from the spinal cord — is often fatal, and those who survive can have significant neurological impairments.

But the injury, which is often associated with high-speed motor vehicle accidents, is “potentially survivable” due to improved management of patients with traumatic injury, earlier diagnosis and more aggressive treatment, according to a 2015 study by the National Institutes of Health.

When DeLine first went into the hospital, she “couldn’t move anything,” Gibson said.
“The best that she could do is blink to commands,” he said. “She couldn’t move. She couldn’t talk. She couldn’t do anything. She wasn’t even breathing on her own.”

DeLine miraculously recovered at the hospital and a rehab facility in the ensuing months. She credits her two daughters and the ongoing encouragement and support from doctors and nurses as the key to her improbable comeback.

“I thought that was going to be my life,” she told the station. “I thought that my life was going to be ventilators and diapers and not being able to communicate.”

But not only is DeLine back on her feet again, she has been able to resume homeschooling her children, something her surgeon never thought was possible just several months ago.

“It’s one of the most remarkable things that I’ve ever seen,” Gibson told WOOD-TV. “I was completely floored.”

DeLine still needs physical therapy twice a week, but she takes some solace in the macabre reality of her injury.

“There’s still times where I sit here now and go: ‘My head is screwed on, literally screwed on, and that’s the only thing keeping it on,’” she said.      [See video at link]

Image from another patient, who survived the injury.

Truly remarkably surgeons have managed to re-attach the head of a 6 month old toddler who was left with a severed neck in a severe car accident in Australia.  It's a miracle that he survived this injury as most people, let alone toddlers, would be unable to move again.  He was airlifted to hospital in Brisbane, Australia and underwent six hours of surgery.

Jacksons mother described the accident and despair in an online account.

"You never imagine it will happen to you. You never think that someone's stupidity could change your life forever - but it can. On the 15th of September 3 boys decided to do doughnuts and burn outs aside a bend in a NSW highway at 11am. Their stupidity cost my family more than you could image. As my car came around the bend at around 100-110kms dust covered the road - the P platers had released their break and drove straight out onto the highway. For a split second I saw dust and then the force hit. The collision so hard that all airbags were deployed. My 9 year old daughter was unconscious, my 16 months old son was screaming - both were bleeding from their tiny faces."
The force of the crash separated his spine at C1-C2 and fractured his collarbone. Amazingly, the spinal cord remained intact and it was just a matter of re-aligning the skull and vertebrae.

"How that spinal cord has managed to go around that corner and not sever is a miracle." Dr Geoff Askin, Spinal Surgeon

During the operation the surgical team lead by Dr Geoff Askin firstly attached the halo Jackson's skull to stabilise and then the surgeon painstakingly re-attached his vertebrae without damaging his spinal cord using wire and a sample of rib to fuse the vertebrae together. He remains in a halo for 8 weeks in the hope that the bone will fuse.

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