After a devastating ATV accident, Skylar Quillen's parents were unsure if she'd ever recover. But with time, perseverance and great care from Holston Valley Medical Center's trauma team, she's recovering and living a full, healthy life.
On July 6, 2007, my daughter, Skylar, was 16 years old and had an ATV accident in rural Scott County, Virginia.
She hit a tree head-on and was thrown over an embankment into a creek on a remote dirt road. My father and son found her face up in the creek, with the ATV wrapped around a tree and still running.
Still alive, my father pulled her out of the creek, but could not get her up the embankment. He left my son with Skylar and came and got me at their home to help. We arrived back at the wreck about a half-mile from my parents' home. My dad and I found her rolled back into the creek. We pulled her from the creek and moved her up the embankment - she was lifeless and very difficult to move.
As a nurse, I was trying to hold the C-spine and move her accordingly, but we could not get her up the embankment. I told my dad we needed help. We heard a vehicle coming down the remote dirt road, and I had my father to flag the young man down to help. He stopped and helped us get her into his vehicle, and we drove to my parents' house, where we in turn drove to the volunteer ambulance service in Nickelsville, Virginia.
I rode in the BLS ambulance with my daughter to Holston Valley Medical Center. Once we arrived, my heart was relieved, because I knew she would now be taken care of.
Her accident resulted in right-brain injury, multiple basal skull fractures, temporal, mandible, rib, thoracic, and C-spine fractures, a brachial plexus nerve injury in her right arm and ruptured spleen, along with aspiration pneumonia from the creek water. It resulted in her going through surgery that night for ICP monitoring, trachea and mouth wiring.
Skylar was in an induced coma for one month. For about three weeks, we were told she would probably die. The late Monty Vess, PA, was a jewel in her care. Dr. Ken Smith, Dr. Roger Emory, Dr. Bruce Grover, Dr. John Collins and Dr. Cory Siffring were instrumental in her care during this time. Had Dr. Smith and Dr. Emory's groups not interceded for her care, the outcome could have been much different.
The neuro ICU staff were fantastic in her care. They allowed me to stay with my daughter around-the-clock, as she was a minor, and they gave excellent care. We spent approximately four months in Atlanta at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta-Scottish Rite for physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and vision therapy stemming from the brain injury and associated problems.
My daughter today is working on her degree for speech therapy. She was inspired to work with other children who will go through some of the things that she went through. She still has some permanent lasting effects from the accident, but has managed to work with and overcome those effects and has not let it affect her goals in life.
We praise God first and foremost for her healing! But God used many people to get Skylar where she is today. We are very thankful for Holston Valley and their wonderful physicians.
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