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May 8, 2016 - Mother's Day: Alexandra and her friends Cooper and Marianna were in their second day of SCUBA check-out at Lake Jocassee. They arose at 5 a.m. the day before and spent much of that day going through diving maneuvers. On Sunday they did the same, arriving early morning at the lake, and doing all of the underwater check-out. By early afternoon they had all completed all activities and had qualified for SCUBA certification. All were tired from the exertion, and they were headed home.
At around 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, tragedy struck, with a head-on collision on Highway 11 in Pickens County, near Table Rock.
Alexandra was airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital where she underwent immediate emergency surgery for internal injuries. Her spleen was severely ruptured and had to be removed. She also had deep lacerations of her liver which were repaired, as was a tear of her colon, and a tear to the tail of her pancreas. She had had extensive internal bleeding. Also her lung was bruised and she had broken ribs.
Cooper and Marianna each had multiple broken bones and orthopedic injuries, including fractures of vertebrae, broken lower extremities and ankles, a fractured clavicle and other injuries. All were taken to greenville Memorial Hospital.
In the other vehicle there was terrible tragedy, with the loss of Megan Mullinax, Kandice Broome, age 14, and Furman Broome, age 9. Our hearts and our prayers go out to them and their loved ones and friends.
Alexandra was on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma for the first three days after surgery, due to the extensive internal injuries and multiple related medical issues. For the next several days she had to use a Bi-Pap mask over her face, due to difficulties getting a breath (as a result of the bruised lung, broken ribs and collection of fluid round the lungs). She had multiple drains, stents and lines installed and was attached to extensive medical equipment. The Bi-Pap mask was difficult to use, and between the problems in and around her lungs, the various medications, and this mask, on any occasions she had the sensation of drowning. For several days it was difficult to breathe, which would lead to severe anxiety.
During the week following her surgery Alex has been in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at GMH, where she has been receiving Excellent Care. She has had a variety of medical procedures related to her extensive internal injuries. Eventually Alex's breathing improved and she was able to use a nasal cannula. Today is Sunday, May 15, her 7th day in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and she is now able to breathe without any of the devices. Yesterday, Saturday May 14 they installed a special NG feeding tube which extends down to her intestines, so as to bypass liver and pancreas stimulation. So far she is receiving nourishment through the tube and is tolerating it well. presently the pancreas injury remains a concern, as it is still healing and may need more attention down the road. While the pancreas remains injured, the feeding tube is necessary.
We hope to graduate from the PICU to a regular room in the next few days. With the many internal injuries there are many medical issues still resolving.