On May 13, 2015 as her family was moving into their new home, 18-month-old Brynna accidentally pulled an appliance-moving dolly onto herself. She screamed once, and then stopped breathing. Her parents called 911, and in minutes LifeForce was airlifting Brynna to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.
Upon arrival, Brynna was still unconscious, and doctors determined she had a skull fracture. During the night, her blood pressure bottomed out and her brain suffered a secondary diffuse injury due to lack of oxygen. An echocardiogram the next day revealed that Brynna’s heart was only functioning at about 25% of its normal capacity. Her parents, Jody and Alanna, were told that their daughter’s heart might not recover from the shock. A monitor was placed in her skull to track intracranial pressure (ICP) and determine if surgery could be avoided. Over the next few days, her ICP hovered around the threshold for surgery. But miraculously around day five, she began to slowly improve. This was the first time that her parents were told that Brynna’s injuries might be “survivable.”
On day 10, Brynna was able to breathe without a ventilator and slowly started to move all of her extremities and open her eyes. But it became quickly apparent that she had vision problems. Her eyes were not able to focus on people or objects and could not track them as they moved. Brynna was moved from Pediatric Intensive Care into a regular room for a few days. She was then transferred to Scottish Rite, part of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, for six weeks of rehabilitation. At this point Brynna could only move her arms and legs a little and rotate her head, but not lift it. Alanna says, “She was essentially a 25-pound newborn.”
After about five weeks in Atlanta, Brynna started regaining her vision and a week later was able to focus on and follow objects. She could hold her head up and was learning to sit up again.
Now five months later, Brynna is doing amazing. She is crawling everywhere and pulling up as she learns to stand independently and walk. She loves playing with her older brothers and sisters and is talking and communicating more with her family every day. Alanna notes, “The doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger were amazing. Their quick actions saved Brynna’s life and set her on the road to recovery.”