Friday Jan.29 at about 5pm, while Leslie was walking our dog near our home at the 4-way stop at the intersection of 17th Ave and Rodriguez St., she was hit and run over by an aggressive driver in a jacked up pick-up truck that never came to a complete stop and was going too fast in the intersection. The middle-aged male driver then made a left turn into the crosswalk she entered. The driver claims he did not see her and Callie and that the sun’s low glare prevented seeing her. The driver had to be told to stop by several bystanders, and to back up because she was pinned under the front left tire of the truck. The driver did not even know he had hit Leslie. The driver stayed at the scene and a nurse from a small, neighboring, assisted-living center had seen it all happen from a window, and immediately came out and administered first aid. All of the above information came directly from her.
She also told me that she saw Leslie struck by the vehicle, thrown to the pavement, double-bounced her head off the street, was bleeding from the back of her head and was in and out of consciousness and very confused in the short time she attended to her. The paramedics arrived 5 minutes later, stabilized her and brought her to Dominican ER where she was placed in a medically induced coma and intubated so that no further damage would be done to her brain and internal organs. She was run over across her abdomen and pelvis, and looked to have sustained a severe brain injury.
The Highway Patrol officer indicated that he was determining the driver to be at fault and it was later confirmed that a criminal investigation will be opened. The driver was determined to not be intoxicated.
I was able to go straight to the ER at Dominican and see Leslie and pray with her for healing, but she was not able to respond and I was in shock. They were preparing to airlift her to the Trauma Center at Natividad Hospital in Salinas. The ER social worker arranged for Nathan and I to be transported there after we watched her leave in the helicopter.
Rachel's Godparents came to our home to take care of Callie and then came to the hospital as we waited for the Trauma Surgeon to update us. There were about 4 hrs where we thought we might have lost her or that she had suffered a debilitating brain injury that would have permanently altered much of who Leslie is. But at 10:30pm we were informed that the CT scan showed that she had not suffered a major, severe brain injury, or fractured her skull. Her sedation was decreased the next morning so they could do a verbal neurological exam to have her move limbs and eyes when requested. She passed that exam.
Miraculously, she also did not sustain any internal organ damage other than a tear of her diaphragm, which they were able to repair during the 3 hr. exploratory surgery. This was very unexpected by the surgeon as this kind of injury usually results in more damage to internal organs and bleeding.
She did sustain a fractured pelvis on her left side but it has been determined that it will not require surgery and will be able to heal on its own if the x-rays remain stable a week from now. This was another miracle because the doctors expected her pelvis to have been crushed given this type of traumatic accident, and to have multiple, complicated fractures and lots of bleeding. There was no internal bleeding anywhere, and only the one fracture that will take about 3 months to heal enough to begin to bear weight.
She sustained a fracture on a small bone in her left foot. It will be allowed to heal on its own since she will not be bearing any weight on her left leg for 3 months.
They also discovered that she had some stomach fluid enter her lungs which is common in this kind of trauma, but causes damage to the lining of the lungs and can quickly lead to pneumonia. This is their most immediate concern.
They believe she will be hospitalized for 1-2 weeks. Possible infection from the trauma surgery will also be monitored. Hopefully, she will be able to communicate on Monday with family only via phone and Zoom.
We are in awe of how many things have turned out much better than they might have. We are grateful to God for everyone's love and prayers and I have conveyed them all to Leslie through our first Zoom call, even though she was unable to respond. We believe she heard us and her spirit was lifted and sustained. I have been sustained by everyone's outpouring of love, prayer and concern.
She is a very strong and determined person, as we know, and this is something that all the health care professionals involved have commented on as something that will really help her in the near future. She was so “feisty” early on in her confusion, that she actually started coming around during the helicopter flight! The paramedic with her was very encouraged by that, but needed to administer more medication so that she did not inadvertently do more damage given her fragile condition. All good signs.